The customer journey has become a bad trip

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Several years ago I tried to open one of these new online bank accounts. It seems so simple. STOP. It seemed so logical. STOP. It seemed so simple. STOP. Despite my best efforts as a reasonably tech-savvy person (not as good as my husband or 23-year-old son, but pretty good), I abandoned ship after about the seventh leg, and was far from have an online account. I appreciate the need for information (especially for a bank account) and the various legal disclaimers required, but asserting a ‘1-2-3’ process here was false advertising at its extreme .

And while I think it’s easy to blame government regulations and legalese, some of the information was clearly requested to enable other marketing efforts down the line. Hey, I’m a marketer, I get it. But common sense dictates that you get to know someone before delving into their personal details, and set appropriate expectations when someone clicks “open an account.” The first screen should indicate what documentation you will need and how long it will take to complete the process. The request should be for the minimum amount needed for this first step. Once you have my email address and a phone number, send some convincing messages allowing me to sign up. Personalize these messages based on how I interacted with your business, what I did on the site, and where I logged out without completion. Ask for more information in exchange for something that will be relevant to me.

Consumers today have a short attention span and expect positive reinforcement and gratification. They don’t like friction, especially when it’s clear that the benefit of that friction goes to the business and not the consumer. They have short memories and little loyalty. Tough sledding for companies trying to compete in this environment.

But this can be done! Consider these tips when building your customer journey:

  • Start with the end goal in mind. Ask yourself, “What’s the easiest way for the customer to get there?” »
  • Use progressive profiling. Ask for minimal information in initial interactions, then build a more comprehensive profile over time and across multiple touchpoints.
  • Once they’ve decided to engage with you, set up an onboarding flow that invites the customer to a deeper connection and allows you to dig a little deeper to understand their preferences.
  • Make your data act together. Make sure you’re not asking for the same information someone from customer service asked for 10 minutes ago, nor are you sending them suggestions or recommendations for things they’ve never expressed interest. Data silos in organizations are death stars. Make sure you don’t have them.
  • Finally, be sure to think of all communications from the perspective of what the customer needs younot what you need from the client.

Epilogue of the online banking experience, four years later: I opened an account with one of these new “banking disruptors” (fully owned by a bigger bank, I might add. They had to decide that they had to start from scratch). It took me 30 seconds to set it up – name, email and phone. That’s it. Then I got a follow up message telling me if and when I actually wanted to use the account (which seemed like a good idea), to go back and add some more info, which I did . Another 45 seconds or so. First transaction, I had to add a little more information, maybe another 30 seconds. The whole process was delightful and tailored to how I was actually using the account. Granted, they gathered more information from me along the way and asked for a few more disclaimers to be checked, but the whole process seemed logical. It was clear why they were asking for this information and what it was used for at each stage of the journey. It was built around what I wanted from the bank, not what the bank wanted from me.

Brilliant customer journeys are possible; I see them every day. The one thing they all have in common is that they gave me control of the trip. And it’s a great trip.


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