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Is your CX truly without friction?

Sep 22, 2020

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Sep 22, 2020

“Everything can be done online or via mobile” is what customers hear, but actual experiences can quickly become a point of friction. 

Is your CX truly without friction?

When was the last time you tried to use a feature or function on one of your credit or debit cards only to discover it didn’t work anything like what you envisioned, or worse, wasn’t available at all?

“Everything can be done online or via mobile” is what customers generally hear, but the actual experience can quickly become a point of friction. And what if that functionality, which many of us take for granted at the large institutions, doesn’t even exist at community or regional banks?

As organizations re-examine their processes, they are making decisions on what gets done first, what the experience should look like, what the acceptance rate will be, and how much will it save. These examinations often expose gaps in technology roadmaps and impede launching what would seem to be standard functions, leaving the organization at a disadvantage.

Friction and Foe

Recently, one of our teammates shared a real-life example that began with a temporary hold request due to misplacing their credit card. The ‘Locking’ feature on cards was deployed some time ago at many issuers, with the intent to enable the cardholder to have faster and more convenient control of their card account when it was misplaced or temporarily inaccessible. The top banks led the charge with many others following quickly behind. However, many community and regional financial institutions still did not or could not implement this enhancement.

So, what happened when our teammate wanted to lock their account with a top 50 bank? They logged into their mobile banking app, and much to their surprise discovered the feature didn’t even exist. Friction point #1.

Since the feature wasn’t available, our colleague had to locate the phone number to call and navigate the voice prompts to be transferred to the appropriate servicing unit. Friction point #2

Despite following the biometric and voice prompts, the call was routed to the wrong area, and they were then put on hold while the agent looked to transfer to the correct department. Friction point #3

Finally, reaching the right area, our colleague requested to have a temporary hold on the card, since they knew where the card was but would be unable to retrieve it for several days. The next day, their spouse went to the store and experienced their card being declined.

Unintended actions

So, what ended up happening? The last customer service representative blocked all cards and labeled the account as lost/stolen. This was Friction point #4 and the most impactful as our colleague and all other family members on the account now had no access to their account. Our teammate called back in once again to speak to a representative only to learn the account had been closed and their new cards would be arriving in 7-10 days.

After reaching out to a personal contact at the organization, the response was, “Wow, I thought we had that feature”. It turns out they didn’t, and the action taken on the account ended up leading to the use of a competitor’s product for the next two weeks.

Taking the lead

So how and what do banks decide to turn on? It requires balancing between the use and financial benefit gained, coupled with understanding the competitive landscape and satisfaction perceived by the consumer. In this situation, having requested what is perceived as a common practice, but later learning the technology was not yet available at this regional bank, led to a poor outcome. Miscommunication and lack of a frictionless process resulted in the account being closed instead of temporarily blocked. Clearly these types of problems can negatively impact consumers’ perception of their banking providers – especially if the consumer ends up believing their provider can’t or won’t keep up with technology advances in the future.  

In today’s environment, expenses are top of mind, but equally important is how to evaluate the correct trade-off. Larger institutions tend to focus on automating the majority of account maintenance functions, but when is the right time for smaller and mid-sized institutions to invest? Was it worth the expense of multiple customer service calls, disruption in cardholder spend, increased customer frustration and the risk of losing business to a competitor? Market-leading organizations of all sizes tend to be proactive and drive innovation which leads to higher customer satisfaction.  

Everyday experiences can have unintended friction points, and not surprisingly, they often come to light and get corrected when we, as personal users, encounter them. If organizations are not offering the features and functions their customers expect, there will be someone else who does. We work closely with our clients in taking an active role in identifying, measuring, and correcting friction points. Friction exists. Why not get ahead of it?

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