Banks that focus on the customer experience have come to learn that it is not the forward-facing customer experience that matters, but the “total experience” that now counts. Total experience is the business strategy for creating superior customer AND employee experience. In this article, we walk through why banks should focus on total experience (TX) and give you the ten critical factors that can catapult your bank ahead of almost every bank in the industry.

What Is Total Experience?

Total experience is the latest evolution of providing superior service. It combines the disciplines of customer satisfaction, the user experience, the employee experience, and the multichannel experience to create fantastic customer service across all devices, service channels, and touchpoints. The goal of this effort is to increase engagement, participation, interaction, satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy for both the customer and the employee. Instead of just focusing on the customer journey, total experience takes into account the employee journey and how they support and interact with the customer.

We have prepared a free ebook that contains brainstorming questions to help you better understand total experience. You can download it HERE.

What Can Go Wrong with Just Focusing on the Customer Experience

Consider a regional bank with a “digital transformation initiative” that rolled out its new “digital user experience” for its retail customers in 2020. It modernized its website, mobile banking interface, and chatbot capabilities for customer self-service.

The problem was that while it modernized the customer-facing application, it did not update its employee-facing applications nor reworked any of its employee support processes. Thus, customers could see more account information and do more than the employee could. Further, the employee did not have the tools to fix problems.

The poor employee-facing user interface and information caused wait times in the branches and in the call center to slow and the customer to feel that they knew more than the employee did. Customers also were frustrated that they could open an account faster on their phones than they could in the branch by a significant factor. The bank’s technology seemed to make their people an impediment. The result was lower satisfaction scores than before, the exact opposite of what was trying to be achieved.

The Importance of Service Design in Total Experience

Banks first started with just trying to get a transaction done. In the last ten years, banks have evolved to be more product-focused. In the previous five years, banks are now experienced focus. Currently, banks are learning that the experience is only part of the journey, and employee support is also important. The total experience is the product, the user’s journey with the product, the marketing/branding, and the interaction between the users and support staff. Therefore, service design is much more critical when designing a product to have a better total experience.

The 10 Essential Elements for Bank Total Experience

Since total experience can be complex, we distilled the ten most essential lessons from companies that have produced a superior total experience. Leaders managing product teams or departments should keep these fundamentals top of mind when launching or improving a program.

The process starts by mapping the customer journey alongside the employee journey and then considering the various layers below, including marketing, communication, technology, workflow, policies, and, our favorite, problem resolution.

The ten elements fall under three domains, including understanding the customer and employee, the strategy to achieve the goal and the process.

Total Experience Graphic

  • Empathy – Data is fantastic and should help INFORM your decisions when creating customer and employee journeys instead of being the sole fulcrum of a decision. Real empathy comes from talking to your customer, finding out the “why” behind their actions, and then trying to walk in their shoes. Every employee making product and policy decisions should experience what customers experience. Every manager making a decision should do what the line employees will do during the target experience. Bank teams should partner with line employees and customers to co-design parts of the customer experience. Then be sure to talk to customers regularly as well as mystery shop your bank’s process as well as the competition’s.
  • First-hand listening – Listen to customers and frontline employees more than executives. Stay close to the customer, for they will provide almost all the important lessons.
  • Customer/Employee-centric Metrics – Use metrics that define success from the customer’s and employee’s point of view and not from the bank’ Financial results will be a byproduct of good total experience design. It is rarely the other way around.
  • Journey mapping with meaning – Journey mapping is not a one-time exercise or some bank marketing consultant’s final deliverables. Someone should own that journey map and be looking at it every day to improve it. A journey map is a diagnostic tool not just for one product but should serve as a template to help inform other products as well as to inform future product roadmaps. When one journey map changes, the organization should ask itself what other journey maps can be improved.
  • Time for TX – Make total experience (TX) an ongoing process. Maintain an agenda item at product meetings AND executive meetings where TX metrics are reviewed, customers talk as a guest (live or via video), The customer experience (CX) of a competitor is reviewed, and mystery shopping is reviewed.
  • Empower Employees – Give employees the power to make things right either the first time or for problem resolution. That means giving them agency, authority, and a budget.
  • Incentivize Employees – Make someone responsible for the total experience for any given journey, give them a team (even if it is part-time), and provide an incentive for metric improvement or maintenance.
  • Battle complacency – At no time should you roll out a bank product such as digital account opening, lending platform, or even a website and think you are done. Product improvement is a constant evolution. Amazon makes thousands of product and process changes per day. “They can afford it; we are not Amazon,” you say? If that is your thought, you have your cause and effect wrong. Amazon has a 45% eCommerce market share and can afford it BECAUSE they are relentless at improving their product.
  • Eliminate the “bystander effect” – Like everyone is a risk officer in banking, everyone is a total experience officer. There are no bystanders in total experience. It is everyone’s responsibility, and banks need to develop a culture that puts total experience, not just the customer’s experience, front, and center. Further, in disaster management, there is a precept of “starting where you stand.” This prevents you from being overwhelmed. For total experience, it is the same. Start today with what you know and what you can control. Build from there.
  • Eliminate silos – We have too many silos in banking, which impedes great total experience design. Risk management, credit, and compliance should not be paid to keep the bank safe; they should be paid to help produce a superior total experience safely. That is a big difference. Loans, deposits, treasury management, retail, and commercial banking all need to work together to offer the best total experience to the customer and employees.

Putting This into Action

The 10 Essential Elements should serve as all-weather advice for any bank product, geography, bank size, or business model. Be sure to download our free ebook (HERE) on brainstorming questions covering the above elements that can serve as a roadmap for teams innovating bank products or services.

The critical element is to reposition your employee experience side-by-side with your customer experience so both can complete the desired task easier, faster, and with enough satisfaction that they want to tell their friends about it.









Tags: Published: 04/27/22 by Chris Nichols