In 2017, customer experience has evolved far beyond management consultant white papers and conferences. It’s no longer considered just a fad or a fancy buzzword containing more sizzle than substance.

Consumers have radically changed how — and why — they make purchasing decisions. Gone are the days of simple comparisons based on price, features and benefits. Today’s consumers evaluate every interaction they have with a brand, its products and its people, and compare it across industries and businesses large and small.

It’s predicted that by 2020 the customer experience will overtake price and product (features and benefits) as the key brand differentiator for consumers. It’s not surprising if you think about it. In a world of Amazon and Netflix, consumers now seek out, expect to receive and are loyal to companies that provide an excellent customer experience.

Whether online or over the phone or in a brick-and-mortar store, customers demand excellence. Good is no longer good enough.

Even more profound: customers demand the same excellent customer experience regardless of industry. What this means for your bank or credit union is that you’re no longer competing against other financial institutions. You’re competing against Amazon and Netflix and the experience they provide their customers.

There are plenty of real-world studies out there to back this up. For example, after a positive experience with their bank, more than 85 percent of account holders increased their value to the bank. Conversely, after a negative experience, more than 70 percent reduced their commitment and associative value.

Forrester has found a strong correlation between a customer’s experience and whether they will buy from the company again, as well as recommend it to others. Long-standing loyalty can have a direct impact on revenue over time in the form of:

  • Cross-sell of additional purchases
  • Revenue saved by lower churn
  • New customers driven by word-of-mouth

It’s no wonder that many financial institutions are moving to continuously monitor and improve their account holder experience. In fact, with potential impact on the bottom line at stake, it’s become a strategic imperative.

And it’s no longer siloed in one or two departments. As executives see the rules of competition changing, they’re making account holder experience a focus across the enterprise.

With an all-encompassing mandate on customer service, satisfaction and loyalty, financial institutions are, in effect, giving account holders a seat at the boardroom table — and making their experience a true competitive advantage.

Customer experience will happen regardless. Financial institutions that fall short on becoming a customer-centric or member-centric organization are minimizing the role that measuring, evaluating and improving the customer experience plays in growing and differentiating their business.

In short, they’re ignoring the most powerful person in the room: the account holder.

> Learn more about improving performance using account holder insight