By Gaby Abi Aad, NCR United Arab Emirates
Gerry McGovern, author of “The Stranger’s Long Neck”, said:
“Often, satisfaction is not a good measure of whether a customer will do more business with you (…) customers who experienced low-effort or effortless experiences were more likely to complete future transactions than customers who had high-effort experiences.”
Lesson #1: focus on making tasks easier to accomplish
The web industry understood the importance of making things as effortless as possible, examples around us abound, you just need to look at Amazon’s website in the early 2000’s and look at it now: you’ll realize how much effort has been put to make it easier to search, shop and checkout.
An entire industry exists around usability (UX), interactive design (IX), and, my favorite, Information Architecture. Information Architecture, when referring to the web, essentially refers to the way that information and navigation elements are categorized and laid out on a website. Good Information Architecture will translate into a simplified experience for a website’s visitors.
And a simplified experience is memorable. Website owners measure stickiness of their website, by measuring the bounce rate and page views per visit or average time on site.
This point is particularly important when a bank is designing the interface of its e-channels, not just website, but also, IVR or self-service interfaces. Are we looking at how much time it takes customers to complete the most sought after transaction on the IVR, or ATMs?
If your customers frequently use the same transaction on your ATM network, would it not make sense to offer them a way to personalize this setting and define what their favorite transaction is, so that next time they’re using your ATM, they complete this transaction in the least amount of effort?
Lesson #2: it’s not only about the “wow” factor, it’s about what your customers want to accomplish.
In the 90’s and even early 2000’s, a lot of websites focused on the form factor, and primarily on “wowing” visitors as soon as they landed on the website, without thinking much of what the customer is hoping to achieve by visiting the website. Those were the days of flash based websites, if you recall, with fancy designs and animated effects, all eye candy to some extent.
A blog post by analytics company KISSmetrics titled 4 “Ugly” Sites that Make Millions looks at the example of eBay, and ventures to say that eBay’s website is “pretty ugly”, but complements this claim by saying that “EBay’s pages are designed to take you to the products you want to buy, as quickly as possible. It’s not just because that’s what’s profitable. It’s what people come to eBay to do: buy stuff. EBay knows this, and so the entire website is designed to help them”. KISSmetrics’s point is this: even though the website may look “ugly” by some measure, it is very successful, and one of the reasons it is successful is because it focuses on making the top task that customers come for (in this case, “buy stuff”), as easy to accomplish as possible.
This is particularly important when a bank is thinking of redesigning a branch, or their entire branch network. Where I come from, we sometimes see the “wow” factor prioritized over other branch design elements like: would the new design reduce wait time or improve the consumer experience, would it incentivize consumers to use self-service technologies therefore reducing overall cost per transaction, or increase sales of cards, or new accounts?
Consumer Experience (Cx) is becoming the new norm: the web industry, being a transactional industry more so than relational, has understood that simplifying the experience makes it memorable, and therefore enhances consumer loyalty. Some banks understand this, and are investing in improving the experience of their customers on their different channels, and are using different state of the art methodologies to innovate the experience. What are you doing to improve your customers’ experience?