By James Isaacs, President, Cyara
The pandemic changed the world of work and business for good, and highlighted the need for effective, company-wide digital transformation. This has contributed to growing customer interest in ‘digital-first’, and even ‘digital-only’, banks and financial organisations. However, whilst a digital-first approach often enables a more convenient customer journey, it also poses new challenges and opportunities for error – from online security breaches to malfunctioning customer service chatbots.
Whether digital-only or a more traditional bricks-and-mortar establishment, a positive digital experience is crucial for both retaining employees and providing a seamless customer journey. As competition between the old and the new financial institutions intensifies, the way in which market leaders will be determined will be through the delivery of experience – both across customer and employee spheres. Key to this will be breaking down traditional, siloed work models to instead focus on a total experience approach.
Total Experience, or ‘TX’ as it is most commonly known, is a term coined by Gartner and one of its key strategic technology trends for 2022. In short, a TX strategy is one that provides a superior unified experience by combining the four key disciplines: customer experience (CX); user experience (UX); employee experience (EX); and multi-experience (MX). By 2026, 60% of large enterprises will use total experience to transform their business models and achieve world-class customer and employee advocacy levels.
The benefits of TX
The greatest benefit of a TX approach is simple: it leads to happier employees, customers, and users. In this way, moving to a TX strategy can be seen as a natural evolution from traditional CX and EX models. But more than this, TX is pivotal for organisations looking to improve their digital transformation strategies. Taking an integrated approach to the digital experience of employees, customers, and users alike will create a more unified and seamless service. And as we continue to move to a digital-first world, a smooth digital experience is key to overall business success. A TX approach will ensure financial organisations don’t fall behind in this vital transition period.
Implementing a TX approach is also associated with lower costs – when done well. By allowing improvements to be rolled out at scale across the organisation when adopting a TX strategy, financial leaders can reduce the overall cost and time of this implementation, thereby benefiting stakeholders in the long-run. After the vital implementation stage, financial leaders can ensure continued success by consistently monitoring the organisation’s TX across all digital channels – such as chatbots, email, and phone-lines, including call centres. Consistent monitoring will ensure that financial leaders meet the needs of customers and employees both now and in the long term.
Some financial organisations are one step ahead in realising the benefits of TX. Fidelity Spire, for example, has already adopted a TX approach in its financial services – utilising analytics and AI to learn user behaviours. This allows the company to proactively respond to users’ future actions, thereby enabling a smoother user experience. It also helps create realistic training simulations for employees.
To make the most of this opportunity, financial leaders will need to embrace a cohesive TX strategy that supports all stakeholders. What follows next are some of the strategies needed to ensure the smooth delivery of TX and the pivotal roles that the cloud, and testing should play in this.
Top tips for TX success
The first thing financial leaders should do to ensure a successful TX strategy, is instruct all teams working on experience improvement to partner with, and learn from, each other. They must then ensure that all leaders of any experience-related activities are equally responsible for solving the combined needs of customers (or users) and employees. This approach ensures from the outset that an organisation’s TX strategy is unified and has the right support from the right people.
Financial organisations can further improve their TX strategy by leveraging cloud technologies. The adoption of nimble, cloud-based services will enable organisations to add, update, and improve advanced technologies – which are vital to a successful digital TX experience – both rapidly and at scale. This approach will also aid organisations in their digital transformation journey. The cloud is here to stay, so embracing it now will mitigate challenges further down the line, when it is no longer an option but a requirement to stay competitive in the digital space.
However, undertaking a cloud migration for TX also creates new challenges to consider – especially when moving over major infrastructures such as a call centre. It may seem like moving to the cloud would minimise the need for testing, but in fact the opposite is true. After migrating, IT teams will need to ensure they still have control over all their organisation’s underlying systems. What’s more, the many technology integrations that are part and parcel of modern cloud platforms create additional points of failure.
All of this ultimately means more risk. To mitigate this, whilst still ensuring a flawless total experience, financial leaders will need to prioritise consistent, continuous testing and quality assurance. And central to this, will be automation.
The critical role of automated testing
Automated testing will be key to ensuring that all-encompassing, cloud-based TX architectures work perfectly – the first time round and forever.
Financial organisations face many potential issues when it comes to the digital total experience. Just one minor online security alert can massively disrupt the online user journey, and cause panic for both customers and employees alike. Resolving the issue quickly will help, but ensuring a continued positive TX is equally important for long term business success. TX failures, like a faulty or unhelpful chatbot, can make a bad situation worse when stakeholders are seeking reassurance. So, consistently testing and monitoring all TX technology is vital. While traditional monitoring tools often cannot pin-point the root of the issue, organisations can get a step ahead by utilising automated testing for all TX systems.
Automated testing and monitoring will not only reduce the burden on staff and mitigate human error, it will also enable organisations to simulate real-world interactions before issues occur – meaning they will be better prepared to face them and ensure a continued positive total experience. To ensure the greatest benefit, financial leaders should implement omnichannel automated testing – covering chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) systems, as well as technology for agent-assisted calls, and any other systems or technology that contribute to TX across the organisation.
Automated testing ensures that each and every part of the TX process performs as intended, resulting in a consistent, positive digital experience for all – even under challenging circumstances.
The time to act is now
The benefits of an effective total experience strategy are clear: providing a seamless and unified digital experience for customers, users and employees, whilst saving time and money in the process, and supporting organisations in their digital transformation journey. If financial leaders take the time to act now – combining all experience-based systems, technology and teams across their organisation, utilising the cloud, and investing in omnichannel automated TX testing and monitoring – they will reap these benefits in the long term.