Personalisation, Individualism or plain old Just Joined Up (JJU)

As we are now well into 2015, I have read with interest articles about how things have potentially improved or how some things or sectors have continued to deteriorate. UKCSI results headlines are hot of the press are the results are a little concerning, although there are some seeds of positivity in there too.

The overall UKCSI now stands at 76.0 down from the highs of 78.3 in January 2013, click here to see the full headlines – UKCSIjan15results

Financial Services, with Banks and Building Societies, are one of the sectors that have shown an improvement, the research headlines (need to wait for full report) don’t state how much of an improvement, however let’s remember this sector was 8th out of 11 in 2014.

Even more interestingly though is that there are some key areas where the ratings have fallen the fastest (out of 28 CX metrics), which are:

  • Complaint Handling – 13.4% of respondents had a problem with the company
  • Speed & Responsiveness – was sited in 24% of problems
  • Issues with Staff – cited in 41% of all problems (competence, attitude, not keeping their promised)

This research will not surprise most, as we are feeling these experience every day. We are doing far more for ourselves – effort has moved to us, it isn’t being absorbed or made easier by most. There are exceptions, those that are making it easy and some that even delight. When we have an issue or a problem that we do need help with, in many cases now the service design hasn’t improved, or it doesn’t feel like it is JJU or Amazingly Easy.

The recent article in the Telegraph by Andrew Trotman on the growth of Bank complaints (>155pc) Bank Account Complaints shows that customers are now complaining about the fact that we are paying on average £300 per year for extras, such as travel insurance, that we either don’t want or didn’t know we had.

This leads to my recent experience, not about the fact that I have products that I am paying for that I don’t want nor knew I had, which I probably do (note to self to check out what I am paying for) but to the fact that there is also a rise in complaints and a drop in satisfaction as companies are obsessed with launching shiny new things, giving you ‘magic moment’ experiences when the basics or TAG’s as we call then (Take as Given’s) are simply broken, companies should focus on the WOW’s (as Jerry Angrave, a Custerian associate, has stated) ‘Waste of Works’.

My experience over the last 2 months with numerous Financial Services companies, has led me to think about this trend of growing WOW’s for Companies and WOT’s (Waste of Time) for Customers. There have been lots of publications about Personalisation or Individualisation and that we are in the Age of Engagement. For me engagement is about understanding the wants and needs of your customers, I am not really that bothered about personalisation or individualisation I want JJU (Just Join Up) thinking and approaches.

My journey with FS companies started following my family home getting broken into in November last year – a lot of items stolen, along with my car and Christmas presents. See my previous blogs on my advice to the companies I dealt with here  A little bit of Heaven and a lot less Hell

We don’t do that, you will need to:
What became apparent after a total of over 50 phone calls, emails and letters sent to the various insurance companies, many are part of ONE banking group and yet the service was simply fragmented. Yet at no point did they view me as a Customer. I had to repeat myself over 50 times, I had to get copies of original receipts and documents to prove our situation from one group company and send them onto the other – I lost count of the times I heard myself saying “Aren’t you part of the same banking group, can you not send scans of the documents to the other group company” – no came the response, you will need to do that – all the effort back to the Customer – no regard nor empathy for the situation that my family and I were in (eg. Didn’t have a computer nor scanner as they had stolen that too).

We have Service Levels:
Clearly we were trying to get our situation resolved, electrical items replaced, Christmas presents in situ all in the height of retail peak. The independent insurance departments were great at quoting their service level, eg. We have 5 days to log this onto our system once you have posted in your receipts, but they didn’t go onto say what happened next and the timelines of these stages in the journey, in some cases we were told that then goes to XX department and you will need to speak to them. As a customer all we wanted to know was the time to get the a successful outcome – being able to replace our possessions to go about our daily life.

You call us, we don’t call you:
In this whole process less than 5% of the contacts were from the separate companies keeping us informed of progress, those contacts that we did receive were letters that then got caught up in the Christmas postal delays. 95% of the contact was from us, the customer to inform them of what we had done, to solicit feedback or to chase. The whole process to resolution from start to finish in a stressful situation was 7 weeks, with some of the insurance items still not resolved.

So my advice to Financial Services:

1, Join up your process and the experience for Customers

Your eco system should be built from the outside in, but start with the simple premise that your own colleagues understand the stages in the journey, your detailed processes that sit beneath this and what the service levels are.

2, Join up Group Companies Eco Systems

Different insurance companies that are part of the same group should work together, look at the experience from the Customers view point, have clear hand off processes in the first instance, with system solutions in the medium to longer term. Treat your customers as humans not a process, to be quoted SLA’s and to act as an administration resource to smooth over the cracks in your eco system.

3, Join up your contact process

Whilst it maybe relevant to follow up with a letter in some cases, customers want immediacy. Proactive follow up contacts via SMS, email or a voice call. We are so used to this with most other sectors especially Retail. Most operation obsess about KPI’s, how quickly we answered, how many widgets have we got from A to B. KPI should be Keep People Informed – how well have we done this. The results are beneficial for companies, you are controlling the conversation with the customers and therefore the whole process becomes more efficient and effective as well as serving a greater experience.

The result will be a greater experience for Customers – we will trust Financial Services companies more, our satisfaction will be greater, we will want to buy more products from one company as it will be so much easier.

For the companies – your costs will be lower, your colleagues will have greater job satisfaction, you won’t need to sell £300 of products we don’t want or need, your complaints will reduce and the sector will move up the league table of UKCSI.

I cannot be alone in that I am a customer who has bought more than one of your products and perhaps I did because you marketed them to me! Please JJU (Just Join Up)