Rob Krugman has a joke he sometimes shares with clients who, if they’re married, will probably recognize only too well: When it comes time to set up certain kinds of online accounts, he says to himself, “My wife’s going to have to worry about logging on to that.”
As the chief digital officer of Lake Success, NY-based Broadridge explains, it can often feel like more pain than it’s worth to try and remember user names and passwords for anything other than our banking and credit card accounts. Yet most people wind up managing credentials for utilities, life insurance and other kinds of accounts.
In almost every case, the customer journey is being firmly steered by the brand. Customers are encouraged (or mandated) to visit the company’s web site or download its app rather than receive printed statements, for example. This is where Broadridge is offering an alternative approach with customer experience (CX) thinking at the forefront.
“Through the pandemic we’ve been seeing people using a lot of Zoom and other tools, and (among business leaders) there was this thought that, ‘Finally we have this event that is going to drive everything to digital,’” Krugman told 360 Magazine. “To an extent it has, but it has also reinforced the idea that even though everyone is digital, for one reason or another they might not want to be digital with you.”
Broadridge is best known for its work in the financial services sector, where the desire to shift customers off of paper statements has been strongest. However the company also provides a range of tools and services to assist companies in many other sectors to improve how they communicate with customers across multiple channels.
This is an important area of CX because, as economies around the world slowly reopen, brands won’t simply have to issue statements. They may also need to provide a range of communications about safety protocols and how the traditional experience they’ve offered has changed since COVID-19.
It might be easier to think about this by breaking customer communication into two segments, Krugman suggested. The first, marketing communications, has been fairly well-covered by CX leaders and the vendor community. There are tools to help listen to customers, personalize content and drive next best actions like purchasing.
The other area is account management — basically all the day-to-day interactions between a brand and a customer other than when the latter reach out with a service issue.
Broadridge did some research and discovered, for instance, that a typical wealth management client receives in excess of 100 pieces of communication each year.
“When we took a step back, we could see that there was so much content going across that it was becoming noise to the investor,” he said. “In the digital world in particular it fades out, because, unlike when someone receives a letter and opens it, click rates can be much lower.”
Recreating those communications experiences from the perspective of the investor means that a brand could focus on how the content being shared related to whatever plan they had developed, Krugman said. This would open up the opportunity to send what he described as “consolidated communications” with metrics they’ll care about.
“Account-related communication was a set-it-and-forget-it type of process,” he said. “There were templated statements and they just kept going out the door. Now there’s a need to be much more consultative, where you can A/B test a bunch of approaches and recognize that they constantly have to iterate.”
Then, instead of pushing people to a web site or app, Krugman said Broadridge is helping clients push communication out to where customers will be more receptive.
Some of the options are proprietary, such a purpose-built microsite which can be personalized to customers who access it via a link in an e-mail, SMS or a QR code on a piece of physical mail.
Other channels include the use of messaging apps, and, more intriguingly, tools such as Apple Wallet. The latter could serve up notifications of when credits have been applied to an account, when payments have been made and so on.
“This app is on every iOS user’s phone in the world,” he pointed out.
Broadridge can provide consulting services for these kinds of approaches, as well as technology to orchestrate various third-party applications that might be involved in creating the experience. The end goal, according to Krugman, should be reducing friction in how customers get information and communicating what they actually need.
“If you were a wealth customer and made a bunch of trades, you’re not going to want to see an SMS every time a trade clears,” he said. “What we’re finding is in most organizations, when you talk to them about what they’re trying to achieve, cost savings is still top of mind, but now they’re most focused on the customer experience.”
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.