Ahead of The Debate at MAD Week, Elaine Herlihy, Head of Marketing & Brand at Westpac explores the five fundamentals of the digital customer and the strategies Westpac is using to engage the digital customer now and moving forward into the future.
1. Using all channels to build an open dialogue and strengthen customer relationships
We are using all channels – Social Media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, as well as many other 1:1 and Group check-ins with customers to see how they are thinking and feeling. Listening and interaction is core to all our CVP work, which in turn decides our offers, our customer experience and informs our creative execution.
For example, in our new Emergency Cash product, because we have talked in depth to people about what happens when they lose their wallet, we understand the emotion around this – it’s not just the physical inconvenience. There’s fear, frustration, potential embarrassment and vulnerability. That has led us to ensure that our customer speaks to a real person first, which helps to soothe emotions and frustration. Then we give our customer a secure code either on the phone or via the phone so they can access Emergency Cash to get them home, or help them pay for dinner, or whatever it is they need to do. All of this work – from proposition to experience, is underpinned by a deep understanding of emotion and experience, which you only get by being in constant open communication with your customers.
2. Listening to customer feedback
We listen to our customers in the digital channels as well as out of them. I believe this is where digital channels offer a great advantage because what you see on Twitter, Facebook, other social channels or on online forums and discussions is very real and instant, which sometimes makes it very uncomfortable. But we can distil the information to the core themes, so we know very quickly what’s really delighting or really annoying customers, and act on it. And we can easily keep hooked into every company that’s great at it and poor at it and see what they’re doing and their customers are saying about it.
We also use banker feedback, and customer boards as well as ongoing surveys such as NPS, to stay tapped into the feedback, needs and attitudes of our customers. There’s no substitute for an old-fashioned, honest, open and humble, face to face conversation.
3. Using insights to improve customer experience
For us it’s all about actionable insights. As a bank, we obviously have a lot of information, which we treat with great care because trust and security are of the highest priority to our customers and to us.
Our customers have told us they want proactive and relevant contact from us, i.e. to use the information we have on how they bank to make proactive, helpful suggestions that save them time or money. With our KnowMe CRM programme we’re doing just – e.g. via our secure Westpac Live online banking platform – so customers can just click and act on personalised suggestions. And our bankers also have these insights at their fingertips so when a customer is in branch or calls us, the banker can offer a helpful suggestion based on something we’ve identified in our data that we know the customer will be interested in hearing about, that has a genuine benefit to them.
4. Provide a meaningful experience
We want customers to stay because they have a great experience with our brand and love it enough to recommend it to their family and friends. I believe that the only way to keep and win customers in very competitive markets is to stay really close to what is meaningful to them. Innovation is really important – we need to keep improving and taking advantage of the best ways to do things – but innovation that means something to customers, not just what’s cool for the sake of it. Ask the “so what?” question all the time and continuously until you get to a meaningful answer. And if it’s not meaningful, don’t do it. For agencies, the same applies. The best work has meaning, based on a true human insight. Sustaining great quality work based on that is really challenging, but the great agencies, like our agency DDB, do just that and add the superb creative thinking as well.
Join Elaine Herlihy and other heavy-weight representatives from Australia’s biggest brands to discuss what the Customer of the future wants and how to best meet their expectations at The Debate taking place at MAD Week 2014.