Go back to blog

Mapping out the customer journey: where are the obstacles?


According to the work of Nobel laureate psychologist Daniel Kahneman, the majority of people would be more upset to lose $100 from a bet than happy to win $150. If we apply this insight into human behaviour to how a bank customer experiences their frustrations, we would be designing much better customer experiences. What management and staff consider to be an insignificant issue can often be a flat-out deal breaker for a customer, causing them to move their account elsewhere. It’s no longer enough for a bank to create the “perfect” user experience – because a 65 year-old is not going to use a service in the same way as a 28 year-old. Instead, banks need to map out the uncharted territory of pain points and focus their strategies on solving them.

For starters, take the blinders off

Most banks have already invested heavily in their digital transformations. But there’s a clear disconnect between how banks perceive their digital experience and how customers actually experience them. In a survey conducted by NTT DATA, only 16% of consumers said they are satisfied with their primary financial institution’s digital experience.  In the same survey, 76% of banks and credit unions describe their digital customer experience strategy as “rock solid”. This huge discrepancy tells us that digital strategy decision-makers inside banks aren’t seeing things from the users’ point of view, and consequently, they are missing the signs that indicate pain and frustration. Word of advice: Be ruthless about identifying your internal-facing confirmation bias, and see things through the eyes’ of your customers.

What is taking the most time? Map out the pain

Map out the high-value steps customers are taking online. These are important tasks like opening an account, applying for a loan, redeeming loyalty points, exploring investments, and paying bills online. By mapping out the customer journey of each process with all its obstacles, you will find your customer’s pain points – and it almost always translates into lost time for the customer.

For instance, the process applying for a loan inevitably triggers questions. Is it clear where a customer should turn to when they have questions regarding a loan application? Are the subject matter experts available on all channels – email, chat or click to call/video, as well as in person, at the branch? Furthermore, a customer who begins their application on a tablet but later goes into a branch with questions must be able to immediately pick-up where they left off. Starting over from scratch will definitely create frustration.

Opening an account is another a time-consuming process, and can often involve the manual entry of data. Instead, it should be an asynchronous process. The process should work equally well for the person who wants an in-person branch experience as for the person who wants to breeze through an online application. Or for both – the person who starts at the branch and ends the process online.  Don’t forget: the process of opening account has to suit the accountholder’s schedule, not the bank’s.

Another common frustration is forgotten passwords.  According to a survey commissioned by D3 Banking Technology, 23% of digital banking users have struggled with remembering passwords when logging onto mobile or online banking accounts in the last twelve months. Banks could ease this pain point by introducing new biometric technologies, such as voice or face recognition or a fingerprint swipe.

The unfortunate truth is that if we deliver a great experience at virtually every touch point, but get one wrong, we’ll be judged by that one bad experience. That’s why it’s imperative to deliver great experience right across the entire journey, online and in person.