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How Marketing Drives Customer Obsession

By Barbara Goose, Chief Marketing Officer, John Hancock

Barbara Goose, Chief Marketing Officer, John Hancock

In today’s world, content and customer experience are king. When you truly understand customers and deliver engaging, relevant content with every interaction, you gain loyalty– and dollars. In fact, consumers are willing to spend 16% more on products and services with companies that offer a better experience.

Financial services firms probably don’t come to mind when brainstorming brands with great CX. Customers don’t interact with us in the same way or as often as they do with other brands, and they’re not recommending us to their families and friends at the same rates as they recommend Amazon and Netflix. After all, the majority of our traditional offerings are sold via producers and broker dealers.

But financial services can become an industry known for great CX practices, and CMOs – or Chief Customer Officers, which some companies’ CMO roles have evolved into – will play a key part in making that happen. Our marketing team is leading the charge to build a more customer-centric company at John Hancock; below are practices we’re using that can be applied to any organization evolving amid a slow-moving industry.

Center your operations around the customer.

Improving CX is not an easy endeavor. It takes work across the entire business, requiring a change in mindset and an overhaul in systems and processes. While there may be legacy challenges to overcome, marketing is in a prime position to implement new standards for CX measurement.

The Net Promoter Score System (NPS) is the core of a customer-centric organization. It provides a competitive customer metric, shifts the focus to customer outcomes, and empowers employees to continuously improve CX. At John Hancock, we measure NPS at both the transactional level (through a survey customers complete after interacting with us) and the relationship level (how a customer feels about the brand overall). With NPS as a process framework, companies can earn customers’ advocacy over time and generate sustainable, profitable growth to outpace the competition.

"Improving customer experience takes time, and there will be roadblocks along the way. Despite these challenges, CMOs and their teams must champion CX transformation – because the reward is worth the effort"

In addition to NPS, our team has used customer journey mapping and relationship surveys to inform CX strategy. By asking customers how likely they are to recommend and continue using our products and services, and understanding the reason behind their scores, we’re able to pinpoint problem areas and make critical changes.

Provide simple, seamless, and personalized experiences.

It’s no secret today’s consumers are digitally savvy, and they expect retail-like experiences that are fast and easy. While this isn’t the way financial services has traditionally operated, we can learn a thing or two from the tech and retail giants of the world.

Not all websites and mobile apps provide a positive customer experience. It should be easy for customers to navigate a company’s website and find the information they need. Most times, this requires a switch in thinking and design – from siloed business products to a more holistic, human-friendly approach. What problem is the customer-facing, and how can we solve for that?

In many cases, user experience has evolved into human-centered design (HCD), a framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective throughout the entire process. Twine, John Hancock’s savings and investing app built for two launched in 2017, uses HCD to continuously improve CX. For example, customer insight informed our decision to add a specific wedding goal to the app – a solution that wasn’t part of the original concept – and to use the color yellow in the brand look and feel.

Ensure all employees understand their role in improving CX.

Understanding each customer’s current and future needs and behaviors enables companies to deliver value and make customers’ decisions easier and lives better.

As always, direct human interactions are important for gauging customers’ specific needs and feelings toward a company. In our call centers, customer feedback is empowering customer service representatives to create better processes and experiences for customers. Our CSRs meet twice a week to discuss direct feedback and problem solve together.

But employees on the front lines aren’t the only ones influencing CX. Every employee across the business plays a part, whether they realize it or not. That is why it’s so important to bring the customer into employees’ day-to-day work.

Our marketing team launched an internal office campaign – complete with screensavers, customer quotes on TV monitors and floor decals – to highlight key customer statistics and behaviors across our business lines. In a recent company-wide meeting, we played real customer service calls recorded from our call center and featured a customer panel, during which representatives from each business shared insights and recent examples of how their teams are becoming more customer-centric. And each morning, everyone on the marketing team receives a “customer quote of the day” in their inbox to keep the voice of the customer top of mind.

Improving customer experience takes time, and there will be roadblocks along the way. Despite these challenges, CMOs and their teams must champion CX transformation – because the reward is worth the effort.

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