Closing the “Experience Gap”

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Nothing seems more important to me for success in retail banking than closing the “experience gap,” the negative difference between customers’ expectations and their actual experience. This gap was first pointed out to me 20 years ago at a presentation by PNC. Two slides, in particular, were eye-opening. The first showed a series of metrics that PNC used to measure how well it thought it was doing at specific aspects of customer service, such as the wait time before a call was answered.  By PNC’s measurement, it was doing very well, with all the measures in the 90% or more range. Then the mic-drop slide: it showed customer responses to how they believed PNC was doing in delivering those same activities. The customer survey results were 40 to 60 percentage points lower than the company’s internal evaluation. That’s quite a gap.

More recent data from a Salesforce survey on the current state of banks’ experience gap isn’t so encouraging: consumers say they expected that banks, because of the pandemic would raise their game—but they don’t believe they have. Consumers are very worried about their long-term financial position, for instance, but they don’t believe their bank is concerned about them.

My view is that some huge winners in financial services will emerge over the next few years, in large part as some banks figure out how to meet customers’ heightened expectations by, for instance,  personalizing financial services down to the individual level. One-to-one marketing was a concept born in the 1990s, but will become a reality in the 2020s.  What do you think?