This Thursday, we sat down for the latest episode of our CX Insider webinar series – where we get to hear from game-changing customer experience leaders to see how they are navigating today’s customer-centric world.
Last week we were joined by Lance Gruner, who heads Global Customer Care for Mastercard. Gruner draws on his own experience working at one of the biggest names in financial services – and is candid about how FinServ brands need to overhaul their processes and culture to keep up with consumers' expectations today.
Read on for the key takeaways our chat with Lance. And as always, if you want to watch the webinar again in full (including the Q&A), you can check it out in the video below.
Why aren’t there more CX leaders in the C-suite?
‘It’s somewhat frustrating that there aren’t more CX leaders in the C-suite,’ Gruner says. ‘Companies are not always necessarily dialled into the value of what a CX leader brings.’
He highlights that there isn’t yet a single definition of customer experience for many businesses. For some, it may be customer service or dealing with problems as and when they happen. But for Gruner, this is only part of the story.
‘What customer experience really is, is how your customer really lives within your organisation – their end-to-end journey,’ he says. ‘What are the touchpoints? What are the needs that have to be solved? And how has a customer changed?’
Gruner highlights how vital the boom in data has been in giving businesses more opportunity to really up their CX game. At the same time, things like the Coronavirus pandemic, and the response from brands that have been quick to pivot to digital, have quickly changed user behaviour.
‘We’ve gotten smarter about customer behaviour. Their expectations have changed,’ he says. ‘They’ve learned different behaviours, and we’ve actually forced them to learn different behaviours: whether it’s digital, automation – those are behaviours that have been learned, and they’re not going to be unlearned.’
For Gruner, processing all this data and keeping on top of the rapidly changing needs of customers is fundamental.
‘If you have a strong CX leader and that person is at the C-suite table with the ear of the CEO,’ he advises, ‘the value that that person brings will really help easily navigate the company through all the challenges that a customer can bring.’
Customer expectations have changed. Have Financial Services companies?
Gruner asserts that when businesses talk about loyalty, they must deliver on what they say and promise.
‘People are becoming less and less tolerant of bad service,’ he adds,’ because there’s a lot of choices out there.’
Much has been written (including by us on this blog) about how CX will become the key differentiator among brands. So how do businesses stand out when it comes to ensuring their customer experience sets them apart?
Here, Gruner points to the importance of being recovery ready.
‘Customers and consumers will understand that companies are in a difficult position today,’ he says. ‘There is a tolerance and understanding, but they will understand that as long as the company recognises, reacts and recovers.’
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted this. Companies that have recognised issues, reacted quickly and recovered strongly have made the best of these uncertain times.
Gruner points to four missteps he recognises in financial services brands in the wake of Coronavirus. They are:
- Companies thinking we’re going to go back to normal.
- Companies not dialling into what new consumer behaviour is.
- Companies not having the right tech/staffing.
- Companies missing the CX opportunity to stand out (not even doing the bare minimum).
The importance of understanding data in CX
Gruner sees data as being as critical as breathing to an organisation.
He warns that you'll fail to improve your product or service if you do not understand your customer data.
According to Gruner, there are three buckets of data brands need to have a handle on to keep ahead in CX today. They are:
- Typical data – such as everyday KPIs (things like traffic, conversions, visitor numbers). What he describes as the ‘primary survey of the operation.’
- Customer behaviour. What is the effort they go through? What is their sentiment?
- Improving your product. Is it solving a problem? What opportunities are there to automate services etc.?
Reflecting on his own strategy, Gruner describes the following areas of focus when Mastercard underwent its transformation to a more data-led approach to CX:
- Elevating the mindset. Highlighting the importance of being an advocate for the consumer.
- People, process, and technology. (Deep rich data, automation to close gaps, end-to-end journey processes, minimising pain and efforts, having the right people in the right place etc.)
- Telling that story across different audiences: product, tech, C-suite – focusing on customer loyalty/CX wins with ROI and getting everybody on the same page.
What does the future of CX in Financial Services look like?
Gruner agrees that the companies that survive over the next few years will realise the value of CX and have those specialists at the C-suite table.
He anticipates a divergence between brands that make that change and those that do not.
On the subject of predictive CX, Gruner believes we are already there. The technology is still maturing and needs to be adapted to respective industries – but those embracing AI and Unified Customer Intelligence will lead the charge.
The critical point for Gruner is that CX is not simply the flavour of the day. It is here to stay.
Companies need to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.