Spark the magic between brand and customer experience

by Guest Contributors Dr Susanne O'Gorman & Sarah King | March 06, 2019

Author: Dr Susanne O'Gorman

Dr Susanne O'Gorman
Insights Division, Kantar
Global Head of Customer Experience
https://www.linkedin.com/in/susanne-o-gorman-52544a21/


Author: Sarah King

Sarah King
Insights Division, Kantar
Global Head of Brand
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-king-4ba13712/


Celebrations big or small remind us of people’s desire to enjoy a magical moment and escape the mundane. Yet, when it comes to customer experience, Kantar’s first CX+ report for retail banking in the U.S. finds many companies fail to create the magical moments that will help them stand out from the crowd.

Don’t let your customers down

Many U.S. banks struggle to gain true advantage out of the experiences they offer. It goes without saying that, as a minimum, brands should not let their customers down. Leaving banking customers disappointed or even irritated with the last interaction results in a dramatic decline in loyalty. Happily, over recent years, many brands have become better at eliminating customer pain points but they still struggle to retain customers in a fiercely competitive environment.

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Close the gap to the brand promise

The next step toward making the most of customer interactions is to deliver on people’s expectations. Customers who perceive an alignment of brand promise and experience rate the operational performance of their banks more highly and are more likely to recommend the bank. However, even that is not sufficient to differentiate you decisively from your competitors: 43% still consider using other banks in the future and 33 percent are even strongly attracted by competitors.

Create those all-important magical moments

The final step isn’t to merely meet expectations; true experience advantage is built on combining operational excellence with delivering more than customers expect; a super quick resolution of an issue, brilliant complaint handling, a simple re-imbursements process or a human interaction that left you feeling valued and appreciated. All are experiences that make an impression on you, a brief moment of magic that lights up your day, something you might mention to your friends later. We tend to think that those magical moments can only occur in personal interactions, yet USAA (which leads our ranking for banks in the U.S.) manages to provide empathy and genuine customer understanding even though this is largely managed through phone and digital.  

The payoff is evident: Banks that have gained the experience advantage achieve 1.9 x level of recommendations, 2.1 x level willingness to take up new products and 1.9 x greater share-of-wallet.  Loyalty levels of those customers who were delighted with the last interaction reach a Relationship Index of 126 - outperforming those merely satisfied customers by 40 points.

So how can more brands spark the magic?

  1. Be clear on what your brand stands for: A well differentiated positioning provides a compelling reason for customers to choose you over others and guides the business as to what it needs to deliver and how.
  2. Focus: No brand can (or even should) delight customers in all stages of their journeys. Companies need to target their investments on those moments that matter most to the customer.  
  3. Empower your employees: a well-defined service-script and smoothing processes will help you avoid severe problems, but it’s not enough to create customer delight. Employees need to be empowered to make the right decision for each individual customer – even if that means breaking the script.

If you want to find out more about gaining the experience advantage check out our first CX+ report, for retail banking in the U.S. here. There are many more country reports to come in 2019 but, meanwhile, why do you think so many companies fail to delight their customers? Please share your thoughts. 

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