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Delivering customer centric change - one conversation at a time

The concept of client experience (CX) is not new to the financial services industry but increasingly is a hot topic within Capital Markets – both in terms of delivering a better experience to clients across the lifecycle as well prioritising the right initiatives required to enable that change. While a CX focus can provide new perspectives on value, working methods and efficiency, the tangible benefits and impact delivered so far have been mixed.

This blog looks at why that is the case, and what steps leading firms can take to move the needle through innovating the client experience.

Applying client experience to critical challenges

Human-centred design embedded within design and delivery teams is becoming the industry standard. This approach, which prioritises the client experience, is increasingly applied to tackle more complex, areas, where numerous attempts at transformation have not delivered results. By applying client-first thinking to challenge operational, technical, and cultural siloes, banks can help shape programme roadmaps based on client impact – be it in terms of revenue gained/lost or servicing cost.

Leading practice use cases, where CX applications can deliver impact include:

  • Re-thinking the digital onboarding experience by mapping the experience from a client perspective. This involves re-thinking the “to-be” journey and associated programme roadmap by focusing on opportunities for high-value client engagement versus low value touchpoints. The latter should be digitised as a priority.
  • Refining the cross-channel experience of clients when accessing relevant research and thought leadership and closing the engagement loop. This can be done by ensuring relevant coverage leads are aware of client interest to enable timelier follow-up.
  • Challenging operational efficiency by mapping the “day in the life” of key roles, identifying high priority impact areas, particularly through ways of working, usage of technology and practical efficiency roadblocks.
  • Helping to operationalise ESG regulatory requirements. Internally, this can be achieved by defining the relevant personas to understand how ESG demands impact core activities (e.g., deal reviews, portfolio metrics, banker scorecards). Meanwhile, externally, it is a question of making it easier for clients to submit the required information and access relevant reporting through the bank’s digital channels.

Common to each of these use cases is that, in many cases, the focus on clients and impact that matters has been lost. In its place, enabling technology, process flows, and data have been prioritised for delivery, with little consideration on the client impact.

New words, same approach?

Whilst banks have started to use more client-centric approaches in critical digital transformation programmes, results have been patchy so far. Nevertheless, moving from CX in name to CX in practice is critical to ensuring that outcomes deliver value. Specifically:

  • Understanding your client: Relatively few banks have spoken with their clients to understand both their current experience and what changes they would like to see made to deliver a differentiated experience. In part, this is driven by the false assumption that knowledge gleaned from coverage teams is enough. In the case of client on-boarding and research, there is real reticence to speak directly with clients about CX-related issues, typically because of the false assumption that engagement will expose these organisations as weak.
  • Taking the time to do structured research with a representative sample of clients, reflecting a range of use cases (e.g., different languages, levels of digital maturity, diversity etc.) will ensure the foundations of the programmes developed are based on data – with greater clarity around desired outcomes.
  • Understanding the journey: For colleagues and clients, taking time to map their journeys across channels is critical. It can highlight key metrics such as time per step, effort and data required. Methods including surveys and video logs can also be used to better understand the “hidden time” lost in these journeys through accepted, ingrained inefficiencies. Service design blueprints are also increasingly being applied to map various journeys, and the functionalities and data required to deliver them.
Service Design Blueprint

Using the existing client or internal journey as a baseline – including identified interim states – prioritise moments that matter for clients in automation or, in the case of onboarding, additional data requests that quickly shift the experience from acceptable to poor, especially where such a shift could be enough to trigger a client to switch to a competitor.

  • Leveraging the data: While we frequently hear about the richness of data banks hold on their clients, it is still used surprisingly infrequently as part of the transformation approach. In the example of client onboarding, start by looking at the impact of trades lost through the journey, whilst in the case of digital experience, leverage data on the research or thought leadership accessed by clients to follow-up with coverage teams to help them more effectively focus their output.

Shifting the focus from delivering transformation from the inside-out (e.g., people, processes, and technology) to an outside-in approach, where the client experience drives prioritisation is already delivering value for some forward-thinking organisations. Not only is it leading to greater client impact, but it is also helping firms to optimise the effort (and cost) expended to deliver.

Understanding where client pain points are through direct client engagement, and the canny use of data to understand both the target state and its impact, are the first steps on this journey.