London - Digital transformation company Publicis Sapient today released a state-of-play report on customer experiences with banks in the UK and the resulting growth prospects of both large, household-name banks and the newer, smaller, neobanks.  It is the first ever index created by the company’s proprietary instrument, CXGX.

The Financial Services Customer Experience Growth Index (CXGX) report, which shows results of an in-depth analysis of customer experience provided by a cross section of 14 UK banks shows strong variation in CX offerings and reveals that some banks are falling behind in the race.  It shows: 

  • All 4 neobanks studied gained the highest CXGX scores of between 10 and 25.5, (no top tier or tier two banks were in this range - all scored lower).
  • Of 5 tier two banks studied, two came in last and second last, with the lowest scoring only 4.5.  The rest came in between 8 and 9.6.
  • The 5 top tier banks surveyed gained scores of between 5.8 and 8.6

Magnus Fitchett, Head of CX and Innovation Consulting, Publicis Sapient, said:

“Our research shows that high street banks are failing to identify which experiences will hit customers’ sweet spots. This bodes poorly for the long, or even short, term and poses an existential threat as customers begin to drift to competitors.  Banks are hurting their own growth prospects, as they struggle to identify how customers feel, or what engages them. Most customer experiences with most high street banks are forgotten. Interactions fall into the grey area between especially good and especially bad. 

“While customer “touchpoints” broadly meet our expectations, and deliver the outcomes we expect, they don’t surpass them to deliver the types of memorable experiences that drive customer loyalty. We call this status quo, the Valley of Meh.” 

CXGX will be launched to the market later this year and is already being recognised by some as a challenger to the current industry standard customer experience measurement method, the Net Promoter Score, which has remained unchanged since before the turn of the century, and the advent of the digital revolution.

The new instrument addresses each interaction between the customer and their bank, examining how they found the experience, how the experience aligned with their expectations, and their emotional reactions both positive and negative, including fulfilment, pride, a sense of being entertained, relief, a feeling of being cared for, appreciation, and feeling uplifted along with alienation, anger, confusion, boredom, and disappointment.

CXGX scoring, which are the touchpoints customers enjoy?

The Customer Experience Growth Index (CXGX) revealed which digital offerings are creating the strongest emotional satisfaction with banks. Email was the least favoured method of communication, with social media the favourite.

  • Social media 15.6
  • Visit branch 8.4
  • Email 3.1
  • Live chat 12.0
  • Desktop web 8.3
  • Mobile web 9.9
  • Mobile app 11.4
  • Call centre 7.8
  • Text 9.8

Users are more likely to feel alienated (+46%) and frustrated (+43%) by live chat, suggesting that elements of the experience are falling short, while call centre users are more likely to report feeling angry (+39%) and disappointed (+53%) after engaging with a bank’s call centre. However, the scores both channels receive for making consumers feel “cared for” are not only well above average but almost identical, indicating no risk of decreasing customers’ positive impressions if they move from telephone-based contacts to live chat.

The past few years have seen a shakeup in the banking industry, with new players on the scene and the prospect of even more to come, with large non-banking sector firms such as Walmart moving into the space.  Customer experience has become a key competitive arena, driven in large part by expectations created by digital-led companies.

Simon James, Head of Data Science & AI, Publicis Sapient added:

“Until now, companies have been flying largely blind in CX terms, with no way to link the data they collect on CX to changes in business performance or to a clear view around where to invest to improve their CX. They have had no reliable way to benchmark their own CX performance internally over time, nor to compare themselves to competitors or to “experience leaders”. This has led to findings such as that of Bain, the developers of NPS, that 80% of companies believe they deliver ‘superior experiences, while just 8% of customers agree.

“We believe that CXGX offers a major opportunity to close that perception gap and give financial services businesses a toolkit to improve business performance using CX data.