Nowadays a modern customer is forcing the business to strive more than ever before. Banks are often compared to Netflix, Amazon or Spotify, and the experience a customer gets is being matched in every sector - even services. So, what does “happy customers” mean today and how to deliver the best experience even when sectoral boundaries disappear?
The key is understanding
At Danske Bank, we are all guided by the idea that a happy customer is the one who is understood. After all, no one gets up in the morning thinking, "Such a wonderful weather, I'm going to take out a loan today." People do not make these decisions because the sun is shining. Our task is to identify and read the client´s current situation. Whether the beginning of a new life or a temporary financial difficulty, understanding and insight allow us to offer what the customer really needs.
We can also bring happiness to the client by managing expectations. Sometimes it is thought customers need everything right now, but people are very understanding and know that certain things can take time. However, businesses are often afraid to tell customers that a particular service or product availability may take three days, and such fear can cost a good customer experience.
Leaving customers puzzled may lead to unreasonable expectations - for example, that the payment card will be produced immediately, or a loan will be approved the next day. Open and candid communication is a prerequisite for creating an outstanding customer experience.
How do we strive for the best customer experience?
When speaking to customers about their experience, I often hear: “I ordered a product from Amazon and it will be delivered in 21 days. I wanted it faster, but I accept the situation." Clients are relaxed because they know where their package is at all time - at the airport, in transit or at the local post office. At Danske Bank we work on that same principle.
We often forget that finance, especially for private customers, is a particularly sensitive area. Here is their money, savings, family maintenance or vacation, so concealing or not expressing any information causes frustration and that's exactly why we are trying to be transparent about it.
By the way, we often encounter a phenomenon I call “magic of the office walls”. Outside the office, we become the strictest customers ourselves – we feel angry and disappointed when businesses do not understand us, and we are not valued enough. But when we return to the office, we suddenly become those businesses and the customer becomes responsible for all the inaccuracies and mistakes. Within the company, we are constantly learning to openly communicate with the client and thinking about why something has failed, and what can we do to prevent it from happening again.
Getting to know the client – take him or her on a journey
There are several ways to measure customer experience, but we at Danske Bank use the “customer journey” method. We are not taking the customer on a hike or on a flight across the Atlantic; we just sit down and talk about the customer’s thoughts before making a decision – the journey. For example, what happens from the moment a person chooses to change bank until he or she can start using the services of that new bank.
The client's journey shapes up like an interview. When talking, we ask precise questions in order to understand the reasons for the action i.e. what prompted you to consider another bank? How did you choose? What did you do after? We try to put together all the stages of the journey, which are often very homogeneous.
The same stages could be applied by any other bank, but our distinctiveness is to look for emotivity. How does a person feel when making decisions? Is it a difficult and stressful moment? Or maybe this step is very simple and motivating enough? Drawing the whole journey and identifying those emotions is our tool at work – it is the best way to find out when a customer needs us.
Customer loyalty is the new black
With constant interest in customer experience management innovations, I notice a tendency - more and more attention is given to customer loyalty. This is largely due to the rise of social networks. One unwise word or a misunderstood gesture can damage the reputation of any business. We simply no longer want to get bad feedbacks.
The prevailing attitude - "After me comes the flood" (Après moi, le déluge) shifted and gave way to consciousness. Businesses are beginning to appreciate loyalty and striving to make the customer feel valuable and understanding that customer experience not only means greater profit but also word- of-mouth advertising. After all, brand equity is not built on what we say, but rather on what the customer says about us - this is Danske Bank's philosophy.