Great customer experiences don’t just happen. They require deliberate decisions and supporting leadership behaviors. As we mentioned in an earlier section, our research found that adhering to a decision-making process that considers the impact on the customer is one of the practices that separate growth banks from non-growth banks.
Let’s imagine that you have defined the experience you intend to deliver. You're beyond saying your experience should be better than everyone else’s—or "differentiated," "special," "unique," or "exceptional." Let's imagine you've clearly connected your brand promise (which should be a thing you have) to your intended customer experience.
Perhaps you promise “Financial peace of mind,” or “Making banking simple,” or to quote customer experience all-star Umpqua Bank: “Banking like you live.”
Each of these promises should extend to a different customer experience. The elements of each banking customer experience, of course, will likely blend together: many banks will offer similar savings and loan products, as well as deliver services via branch, contact center, online, and digital channels.
But "how" each bank designs and delivers those elements is what sets its experience apart from the rest.
The definition of your own "how" is foundational to successful habits of making decisions for your customers. As you work through answering how you will deliver on your customer experience promises, remember that each "how" becomes what we call a "guiding principle" of your customer experience.
Guiding principles are clear and active statements about your customer experience. They help frame actions. For example, here are some guiding principles and how they might translate to a bank's customer experience:
Guiding PrincipleIn the customer experience, that means…"Make money matters clear."Avoid jargon and use plain talk."Know our customers."Listen more than we talk."Inspire customers to take the right action."Always present different options and offer alternatives to reach goals."Be one with the community."Make branches available for community events after hours."Build mutual trust with our customers."Waive the overdraft fee for customers who overdraw their accounts the first time."Empower women."Offer financial seminars aimed for women.
Guiding principles should be understandable, easy to repeat, and tied to the elements of your desired customer experience. If your guiding principles are clear and purposeful, they'll create a worldview that makes decisions easier for your entire business. When faced with any customer experience decision, employees can use the guiding principle as a lens, through which the answer should be apparent. From a leadership perspective, each business decision becomes a matter of staying true to your promises.
So, in short, they're important. And once you have a set of guiding principles, you'll need to put them to the test.
To test whether your guiding principles are effective, focus on a recent initiative or decision with your leadership team. Then take time to walk through the following exercise:
- Give one example of how that specific initiative aligned with your new guiding principles.
- Think of an example of misalignment.
- How do you think having these guiding principles defined would change how we would approach this initiative if we were to do it all over again?
- How might this shift in approach benefit our customers, our employees and our shareholders?
The continual act of using your guiding principles as a looking glass into the customer experience can allow your leadership team to more deeply understand the customer experience. It can also free up employees to take better on-demand actions for their customers—without always having to work their way up the chain of command.
Customer-Centric Talent Decisions
Any discussion of customer-centric decision making would be incomplete without considering one of the most important decisions you will ever make: the choice of who to bring into your fold.
While being good at the job is part skill and experience, a large part of customer centricity comes down to personality and personal values. A bank's success with building customer-centric culture is predicated on having, and adding to, a talent base that cares deeply about putting banking customers and members at the heart of the everyday.
There are some really interesting ways to look at values-based hiring, but at PeopleMetrics, we analyze customer feedback data (more on that later on in the course) to find your Brand Ambassadors, the people your customers love to love. And then we create profiles based on those top performers to inform future hires.
Customer-centric decision making should extend to all practices at your bank with those related to talent acquisition, motivation and retention being the most essential.
For more on how to put your guiding principles to work at your bank, then check out our free guide below.
If you'd like to talk more about guiding principles, or would like to get more information about how we can help you refine your customer experience strategy, then contact us.