Where is the Omnichannel Customer Experience in Financial Services?

The gulf between customers' desire and the current reality of service delivery by financial services organizations is large but not insurmountable, according to a new survey from Avaya.   

The survey’s findings indicate that there’s significant disparity in the perspective of a customer when it comes to how they expect to be treated versus what businesses are currently offering.

On the customer side, consumers increasingly expect an omnichannel, personalized and proactive customer experience:

  • 70 percent of customers expect financial services companies to link all threads of communication together in real-time across channels.
  • 70 percent expect customer-facing staff to have a single view of them in real-time when they contact the company.
  • 92 percent expect to be proactively notified of an issue and offer a solution.
  • 69 percent expect to be treated as unique – contacted the way they want, when they want with products and services tailored to their preferences and shopping habits.

While the research found that the overwhelming majority of business managers (97 percent) said that customer experience management is an important or extremely important part of their 2014 strategy, the number of companies claiming to have a comprehensive program in place drops by more than a third to 64 percent. Despite their enthusiasm for customer experience management, few financial services companies can deliver against all of the elements customers expect – less than half can do so.

The impediments to meeting customer expectation are many, but the top three obstacles that emerge are technology limitations (44 percent), inflexible business processes (37 percent) and inadequately trained staff (32 percent). Interestingly, 68 percent of IT professionals in financial services among all respondents said technology was the limiting factor. Another interesting factor: 55 percent of business managers feel lack of customer insight is what’s holding the company back.

On a positive note, there’s a big pay-off on customer service investments. Among financial services organizations that have a comprehensive CEM program, 98 percent have seen improvements to their business as a direct result. In particular, the improvements have been in the area of customer retention, loyalty and satisfaction which by extension has shown up in repeat purchasing and increase in total customer spending.

The conclusion demonstrated by the Avaya research is that a strong correlation exists between CEM efforts and increased profits – 79 percent of those who have seen significant profit increases had a CEM program in place and almost 80 percent of this group has also put initiatives in place to reduce customer effort over the past three years.