No matter the experiences we go through in life, only the positive or negative emotions related to it will remain etched in our memory. This is the very definition of memory. In this article, we’ll use the thorough 2016 KPMG study “Banking the Customer Experience Dividend” to support our point of view. The challenge is for every company, institution, or administration to fully understand what their prospects, employees or customer experience, in order to avoid the risk of going bankrupt, as was almost the case for Kodak.
Kodak (founded in 1888) was the world leader in photography and film-related products and services. In the early 2000s, following many technological and digital media innovations, Kodak was on the verge of dying off. One could also list BlackBerry, Agfa Gevaert, Nokia, and many others as examples of this revolution.
80% of companies say they deliver “superior” customer service…
… Only 8% of people think these companies deliver “superior” customer service.
The common observation that one can make is twofold. On the one hand these companies did not understand the technological shift at the time; on the other hand they did not sense the new experience that their clients would have wanted to experience. New behavior, trends in consumerism, markets, and especially digital generation were all things to analyze in order to make an informed decision.
Another finding in an era of information overload, brands across all sectors have never done a poorer job of broadcasting relevant content. The root of the problem lies with the lack of linking information. What emotional connection still encourages us to remain loyal to a brand when all relevant information is made available online? The brand no longer has complete control over its identity. The real power lies in the hands of the consumer.
A new concept is becoming increasingly more strategically important: the user experience (customer, prospect and /or employee) when they deal with a company or institution.
Managing these emotions can only be done through the knowledge of the past. It may sound trivial, but the vast majority of today’s brands don’t do that. It is why they are at risk of being “kodaked”.
Banking the Customer Experience Dividend
To explain this idea, we will refer to a highly conclusive study done by KPMG in 2015, where they investigated the financial sector (68 banks in the world within 864 other cross-sector brands) and strategic challenges relating to the customer experience. The title of this report is clear: “Banking the Customer Experience Dividend”. The study was conducted among 10,000 customers in the financial sector.
The Customer’s reality vs. yours
The first lesson from this study is that 58% of UK banks are part of the “Customer Experience Excellence” Top 100 (Top 100 includes companies and all the sectors which were considered as yielding the most rewarding user experiences). It may be noted that the Big 4 (Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds Bank) were not part of this study. In the US, only 33% of banks are part of the top 100.
What can we deduce? 42% of British banks and 67% of US banks are not part of the Top 100. A great analysis! At least half of banks’ customers in these two countries have experienced unsatisfactory service. If one accepts that reality is in the eye of the beholder, today’s companies must not only understand, but also accept it. When we set up or have to optimize a digital ecosystem, sometimes we too often tend to project our vision of the world as a truth legitimized by our supposed expertise. However, the user teaches us humility when they expose us to their point of view.
A picture is worth a thousand words, here is a famous example that perfectly illustrates the difference in the perception of reality which can lead to failure of what is established.
What can we say? First of all, this example illustrates that the power is in the user’s hands, and secondly that it is he who will express his experience in a given situation. In this case, he cut it short because he believes it is a waste of time to follow the way that is offered. From the effect observed to the reported case. In the Emolytics app, we highlight the Emoscore, which is an emotional performance indicator. The higher it is, the more emotions, the user experience will be considered as positive.
Let’s illustrate this with an example: Let’s say the search of a site is strategic (e-commerce, tourism, e-banking …). If the calculated Emoscore were to express low levels of satisfaction when using this search engine, it would mean the user was experiencing disappointment or even irritation. It is clear that this matter should be investigated as soon as possible to find out the reason behind the low score.
The lesson we can draw from this is to understand that quantitative data from the traditional “analytics” (Google Analytics, Web trends, CRM tools …) cannot reveal this behavioral dimension related to an observable experience. This is why this is the only way to understand what the user saw, which is beyond a standard quantitative level often used as the cornerstone of any digital strategy.
Another strength of the Emolytics tool is to not only analyze the effects (low Emoscore and negative emotional valence), but to investigate the causes that produce such effects. This is done by directly by querying the user, not merely by deduction as that would be relying on intuition.
A module with custom pre-recorded questions allows the app to speak directly to the user. Examples that would lead to negative emotions include when: the information is not found easily or boring, when the site is too slow or experiences too many pop-up or ads, when registration for a new customer is too complex, etc.
This data is crucial in order to implement corrective actions from the start validated by users’ answers to questions and not on the basis of intuition, a possibility, or a past experience.
Working on a user’s emotional experience is not a subjective test; on the contrary, it focuses on observable facts in a pragmatic and scientific manner. In order to reveal the cause of a malfunction, it is important to focus more on results rather than working only on its effects. The impact is quickly seen, and immediately observed with a better return on one’s investment because the conversion rate inevitably improves. Nowadays, it is a consequence, not a prerequisite for the definition of an effective digital strategy.
The Six Pillars of Customer Excellence
KPMG also highlights six principles that should be considered when undertaking any questions relating to the quality of the emotional connection it has managed or failed to form with its user
- Customization: The ability to personalize attention to establish an emotional connection
- Integrity: Being legitimate and building confidence
- Waiting: Understanding, managing, but also exceeding a user’s expectations
- Resolution: The ability to turn a disappointing experience into a positive one
- Time and effort: The ability to minimize a consumer’s effort when dealing with a situation
- Empathy: The ability to understand and establish a deep relationship with them
What is even more interesting is the amount of emphasis that users give to each one of these sections.
Three criteria clearly stand out, no matter what goes into promoting a brand (NPS Net Promoter Score), but also the loyalty it receives (see Introduction of this article).
A brand’s ability to build a personalized relationship with the client is by far the most important factor (over 20%) to the population which was surveyed. In 2nd and 3rd, at 18% and 17% respectively, is the integrity of the brand and the time and effort required to get what is desired.
However, in a bank’s case, it is not possible to understand what a client wants out of a relationship if they are not asked. More importantly, how can this knowledge be quickly and easily obtained through traditional tools (data mining, group discussion, surveys, etc …)? These methods are certainly useful, but are lengthy and expensive to implement. Also, they will never give anything more than snapshot, which is inherently static and not indicative of the actual user experience (i.e. dynamic), the preparation (i.e. evolutionary) and finally the breakdown (thus establishing new behavioral paradigms).
The emotional experience is the brand’s equity
For example, Apple has a beautifully developed and emotional marketing strategy which has put the brand at the top from a standpoint of positive emotions.
But Emolytics’ main purpose is to focus on the emotions experienced by users when in contact with a brand. The quality of these emotions directly influences loyalty to it and also the user’s propensity to promote it to others.
Through the continuously calculated NPS (Net Promoter Score), the brand has the opportunity to see its score change over time. Its score is attributed by its customers as well as by its “non-customers” visitors. This feature is unique in the market. All brands also have the opportunity to see how divided the emotions of its users are, from dissatisfied to very satisfied, frustrated to enthusiastic. This will define the NPI (Net Positivity Index), which is calculated as the difference between the% of positive and negative emotions.
It is also important to understand which digital communication channel is the most efficient or inefficient in terms of emotional experience. Sometimes an action of communication generates less traffic on a site, application, or sales link, however it generates far more positive emotional experiences. This directly influences the NPS, the NPI and thus the brand’s image.
Finally, as already mentioned, the consumer has defined new behavioral paradigms, Emolytics is aware of this reality. The tool can generate real-time multichannel data and scalable, flexible, and dynamic multi-devices.
Let’s illustrate this through one last example. The company Sherpa (Ticketmaster) redesigned its mobile platform, due to being deemed inefficient, which required a substantial investment. The site “desktop” is judged on performance rather than the heavy traffic it generates.
Data from Emolytics revealed after several weeks of use a very different reality. There certainly was less traffic coming from the mobile site, but that experience (declarative mode) was considered to be more valuable.
Thus, the results quickly showed that it was appropriate to review the investment logic. Initially, “mobile”, site redesign was considered more important, after analysis, the “desktop “site’s redesign was deemed a priority.
The insights derived from Emolytics allowed them to accurately allocate the required effort. On the one hand it was important to realize that an update was important, on the other hand it was also important to realize the importance of avoiding several months’ worth of work on something that wasn’t a priority.
In this article, we have seen that one’s point of view change from the angle it is viewed from. This allows one to focus on the cause which is beyond its observable effects, and also on a brand’s image which depends on the quality of its and its client’s (general user) emotional relationship.
We will continue to investigate digital ecosystems as moving and evolving entities due to the insights being offered by KPMG’s studies. They require a continuous and adaptable observation. Thus, this requires greater financial flexibility and a lot of versatility.
In the future, we will try to study relationships between users and companies in more detail in order to have a better chance in developing successful digital strategies focused on the truth; not only for this company, but a truth which expresses a strong relationship between the brand and its user.
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