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Three Lessons from Retailers for Institutions Seeking to Better Their Customer Experience

The battle for customer loyalty isn’t just about digital vs. brick-and-mortar; it’s about customer engagement and delight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the best examples for how to engage customers comes from popular retailers. What can financial institutions learn from the likes of Nordstrom and Casper about customer engagement?

Read on to find out.

CX Winners: Focus on the customer, not the product

One of the biggest ways Nordstrom® became a favorite online retailer for consumers is through their emphasis on customer experience – both online and in store.

  • For example, consumers no longer have to wait in line to pay at a Nordstrom store. You can order and pay online and then breeze into a store and pick up your order.
  • Nordstrom employees are trained in the subtle nuances of putting a customer first: they’re discouraged from pointing and always walk around the counter to hand off a bag.1
  • Nordstrom empowers employees to delight customers by living by the company motto to “Use your best judgment.”

The 23% increase in quarterly earnings in 2018 proves Nordstrom’s ethos works; customer loyalty isn’t just about having the best offer or deal – it’s about customer engagement.

The lesson for financial institutions:  Focus on building relationships instead of revenue.

CX Winners: Listen to the data, test, and learn

Nordstrom also began utilizing big data earlier than most (in 2015), which helped the organization remain profitable in a decade where many prominent brick-and-mortar department stores fell into bankruptcy. Nordstrom reportedly leveraged data from 100 years of customer purchases to better target Nordstrom Rack customers with a propensity to shop at the full-price Nordstrom brand. Nordstrom also uses big data to offer personalized suggestions and advice on how to style the clothing in order to further the online and in-store shopping experience and encourage repeat sales. 

The lesson for financial institutions

Analyzing data provides important insight across the customer base, giving any institution a competitive edge.

For institutions borrowing from Nordstrom’s book, a better understanding of consumers and customers develops into long-term, holistic relationships instead of a series of one-off transactional processes.

CX Winners Go Omnichannel

For Casper, a winning customer experience comes from their ability to sell mattresses as seamlessly as any other online product. The website offers a clean, user-friendly design and a laser-focused approach to assisting customers in the mattress selection process. Think: questionnaires, detailed FAQ’s, and a 100-night return policy. Then, Casper translated this online experience into a similar in-store opportunity. The branding remains the same from site to store, and customers’ information easily transfers from one channel to the next.

The lesson for financial institutions

In today’s omnichannel banking environment, customers and prospects expect multiple options. If consumers respond to an offer via a smartphone, for example, they expect to switch to a different channel — online, in the branch, or the call center — and pick up the application process where they left off without losing their information.

If your institution cannot offer such an omnichannel experience, it’s time to evaluate how to implement one, or improve upon the experience already offered.

For institutions, creating winning customer engagement isn’t difficult. In fact, it may be as simple as putting the customer first.

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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