Today’s customers expect more out of their buying experiences. I know I do. With more information available to us and a 24/7 buying and customer service mentality, informed consumers expect an experience that makes us feel known and valued. Unfortunately, not all companies can deliver the experience we desire and expect. From a business perspective, many companies still suffer from disconnected front and back offices – putting them at risk of missing the mark and losing valuable, lifetime loyal customers. Here’s an experience that many of you may relate to.
A few weeks ago I deposited a check at my bank and to my surprise the teller offered me a better rate on an existing car loan that I had with the same bank. The teller explained how the new interest rate was less than my current rate, and that my new payment would save me money each month.
All I needed to do was spend a few minutes with a relationship manager, then apply for the loan online, and the new loan would be in effect. It all sounded so easy and mutually beneficial – I got a new loan term and rate, and the bank retained me as a customer with a better product.
Boy was I wrong.
I’ll spare you all of the gory details, but let’s just say the bank could have ultimately sold and onboarded me this loan with a lot less stress and frustration.
First, the meeting with the relationship manager turned from an information session about the new loan in to a session to try and sell me – of all things – a credit card. I rarely use credit cards, already had one from this bank, and could tell this was just something she had to offer me. In short, it was not relevant, contextual, or even needed so I politely said no. Happy customer, zero, bad customer experience, strike one.
The bank then asked me to fill in a series of new loan forms. OK, I get that this is probably a required step but they already had all of my address, social security, occupation, and other information. Why they didn’t gather this information from their CRM and enterprise systems, present it to me electronically or in hard copy for my approval or adjustment, was confusing and frustrating to me. I had been banking there for almost 15 years, and was now re-entering all of this data. Strike two. The third and final strike was when they requested the title for the car to secure the loan. I did not have the title to the car because … drumroll, the bank owned the original loan and the title! Clearly the bank’s systems did not recognize that department A needed the title and that department B held the title. Instead, it was up to me to call the bank, request the title, and then mail it back to department B at the same bank.
So while my bank got some of their front end sales and relationship management right, the back end process of applying, processing and securing my new car loan was a fiasco that resulted in a very bad customer experience – and a cancelled loan application.
This is a banking example but is it really? The same thing happens every day in healthcare, communications, and insurance businesses. Every business should take a look at this as an object lesson in linking sales to the back office. The lessons in this story are as follows:
- Client facing personnel (sellers, relationship managers, agents, etc) need the right data and tools to intelligently fulfill prospect and client needs.
- CxO executives and IT/Business transformation managers need to improve the management of customer data and processes across marketing, sales, service and back office onboarding areas.
- Fragmented systems drove an inconsistent client experience and while it can be hard to build, deploy, integrate and manage CRM and onboarding applications, it’s not impossible.
I truly wish my bank could have taken control of this complexity and fulfilled my loan application with less stress and struggle. Clearly, the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing and this impacted not only their business, but my overall experience with the bank. In fact, as a result of this and other similar challenges, I am no longer a customer.
Had Pega Sales and Onboarding applications for Financial Services been running these banking functions, a comprehensive view of me as a customer would have alerted them that I did not need a credit card, and that they owned the original loan and most if not all of the data for the application. To me, there should have been no separation between the front and back office processes. I should have been sold and onboarded in minutes.
The success of your business depends on how well you connect with your customers every step of the way – from sales to onboarding, to fulfillment and ongoing service.
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