Creating a Superior Client Experience–What Not to Do

The data is irrefutable. Financial institutions that deliver a superior client experience enjoy higher profits, stronger growth and better client loyalty than institutions that don’t. So, it’s no wonder that many bankers want to revamp their methods. For more than 20 years, Prime Performance has helped organizations do just that. We’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, and interestingly, we see banks from across the country make the same mistakes again and again as they try to improve client experience.
Many of the errors in building a great client experience have one thing in common:  banks often fail to see themselves through their clients’ eyes. That’s easy to understand. Banks focus on products, processes and structure. Clients care about outcomes, benefits and the human touch. That’s a big gap to bridge.  To succeed at delivering a great client experience, you need to adopt a new perspective and then—this is key!—have the will to act on it.  Along the way, there will be challenges.  Here are the eight top mistakes we see banks making:

  1. No commitment from management.  Executives want the benefits that come with delivering a great client experience. Unfortunately, many will not take actual steps to achieve it. They pay lip service to change, but stick with business as usual. So, results never improve. To achieve the best outcomes, weigh every decision by asking, “How does this affect the client?”  The clients’ needs frequently should trump other considerations.
  2. Employees are not engaged.  Great client experiences rely on employees because they deliver your bank’s services. Simply telling them to do a grand job won’t work. You must create an environment that makes employees feel connected to your mission.  And when they feel connected, they’ll feel encouraged and empowered to perform at a high level.
  3. No training or coaching.  Training sets expectations for employees and gives them the skills to succeed at meeting client needs. Coaching reinforces the training on a daily basis. Both are necessary for new and experienced employees.  Training and coaching don’t magically happen;  a structured program needs to be established and ingrained.
  4. Data is not used.  Oftentimes, an institution will collect reliable data and then do nothing more than look at it. To improve your numbers, you need to change the way your bank treats clients.  To do that, you need to create the right environment, train your employees and reward them.
  5. Making it too complex.  Don’t try to do 30 things to improve. Pick the five most important ones and do them well.  Keep it simple.
  6. No emotional connection.  Here’s the truth:  clients want to feel good about doing business with you and your employees. If they do, they stay.  If they don’t, they go.  There’s nothing scientific here. It’s just human nature.  Again, training and coaching employees—and building employee engagement—can have a significant positive impact on building lifelong client connections.
  7. Solutions are inappropriate.  When it comes to building a better client experience, make sure your model comes from the financial world. Client service methods from luxury hotels, restaurants and automakers work well in their respective industries. However, they don’t usually apply elsewhere.
  8. It’s the “flavor of the day.”  Face it. Middle and frontline managers are skeptics. They tend to see new initiatives as one-shot programs—the “flavor of the day”—that will fade in time. These members of your team must understand that a great client experience is neither a project nor a program. Instead, it’s a lifelong approach that affects every client on every transaction every working day.

Clearly, delivering superior client experience is no easy task to undertake, but it is a vital one for any bank that wants to thrive.  As you embark on this process, keep in mind the keys to success, as well as the mistakes to avoid.