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How to Plan Effective, Context-Relevant Customer Experiences

As the financial services industry prepares for the next phase in the war for customer growth, many are recognizing that a true customer experience management plan has to be at the center of efforts to attract, expand, and retain high-quality, long-term relationships. The lynchpin in effective, relevant, and impactful customer experiences lies in “addressability” — the process of properly identifying a target and providing customized and relevant information, offers, and messaging across the many channels and media customers use to make buying decisions, resolve problems, and educate themselves about saving, borrowing, and transacting. 

Today’s experience ecosystem is more complex than ever — more media, more channels, and everyone “always on” thanks to technology. Customers expect that banks “know” them and can address their needs regardless of which, or how many, channels they elect to engage in with the bank.

With the 3 C’s of the Addressable Customer Experience, we have three areas of impact for success.

The customer centricity shift

While connectivity and content are vital in finding/reaching customers with information, ideas, and offers that resonate with customers or prospective customers, context is the first order of business. Context is our knowledge of who the consumer is, as well as their behaviors, motivations (needs), and location (physical or digital).

For effective customer experience planning, there are four currencies that drive context:

The importance of context in customer centricity

Enterprise Segmentation

It is important to have a global segmentation scheme that can be used and managed across marketing and the customer experience. Effective enterprise segmentation should revolve around motivations that provoke actions based on identifying instinctive (immediate and decisive) characteristics and abstract (slow and intensive) characteristics. By understanding these motivations, a decision chain can then be derived:

  • Personal Value — What are the characteristics that are at the core of the customer need? 
    • Ex:  Be a good provider for my family
  • Personal Consequence — What is the perceived result of the interaction? 
    • Ex:  Be debt free
  • Functional Consequence — What are the actions that have to take place? 
    • Ex:  Pay off loans; open a savings account
  • Attribute — What are specifics about the interaction/product? 
    • Ex:  Save $2,000 per year

By identifying people with similar motivations, segments emerge. From there, messaging and imagery can be optimized to specifically address tailored decision chains and have appropriate impact.

Behavioral triggers and sequencing

Customer relationships can be greatly enhanced through planned reactions triggered by specific customer actions. Based on the customer’s segment, noted preferences, and possible hand-raising behavior, a series of communications should be in place to capitalize on the interaction.

Examples of data that can act as triggers and drive sequencing include the type of device and social media used, past buying behavior, on-line search behavior, geography, life events, and current interaction behavior.

 The customer experience is greatly enhanced when the bank can anticipate a need or quell a fear when the customer is in need of advice and guidance. Capturing behavior to inform this process can provide invaluable knowledge and relevancy to take full advantage of the customer interaction in a timely manner.

Lifecycle stages

The progression of the customer’s relationship with the bank has tremendous impact on their expectations and on opportunities for the bank to positively impact attrition. Awareness, consideration, purchase, advocacy, and loyalty all come with different expectations for engagement with customers. The way they embrace your brand requires differentiation when planning targeted communications.  

Value Scores

As Captain Obvious has said, “All customers are not of equal value to the bank.” Therefore, it is important to understand the cost of communications and the anticipated value of the customer or prospect that the bank is looking to communicate with.

Being able to apply a value score on top of the other three currencies for customer experience planning allows the bank to prioritize the type and number of communications based on expected value that customer can provide. Higher anticipated value may allow for five or six different channels to be used with frequent messaging, whereas lower anticipated value customers can be attracted/addressed via lower cost channels and perhaps with less frequency.

Applying these four currencies across your customer experience planning provides banks with a comprehensive approach that allows for better audience value props, outlining a customer experience blueprint, creating communication architecture, and message sequencing that is steeped in knowledge and understanding. This purposeful planning ultimately resonates with customers who are looking for relevance and appropriate dialogue across all engagement channels as they communicate with the bank.

Stay tuned for our next post in the Addressable Customer Series where we will dive into a case study where context helped drive credit card acquisition.

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