New Report: Banking Leaders Reveal Biggest Challenges to Upgrading CX

There’s no doubt the pandemic drove massive — in some cases, permanent — changes in borrower and depositor behaviors. And all of it solidified customer experience’s (CX’s) role as a determining factor in whether a financial institution can secure — then retain and grow — relationships with depositors and borrowers better than its peers.

But developing a differentiated experience for financial institution customers and members requires smart, strategic, data-informed decisions, not random experimentation or guesswork. And, as many have learned, throwing money at the problem doesn’t usually deliver the best — or sustainable — results.

So what makes a bank or credit union better at CX? How mature are banks and credit unions at CX? What have other financial institutions learned in pursuing better CX? What banking products are creating revenue from CX upgrades?  

That’s what Total Expert wanted to find out in its 2021 Customer Experience Maturity Model survey. The results offer financial institutions important insights based on the firsthand experience of their peers.


Organizations recognize the CX imperative.

Survey results show financial institutions invest in a strategic mix of people, processes, and technology to support CX: 80% implement new technologies, 73% add new processes and procedures, 51% work with outside vendors to improve their CX, and 48% add new team roles to support the CX function.

But when Total Expert segmented survey responses according to CX maturity, implementation of new technologies persisted as the most common investment as CX matures while the popularity of other methods come and go.

The limited use of personalization poses a huge opportunity.

Today’s fickle, pandemic-weary consumers want more than simple, personalized salutations from their financial institutions. They expect to be proactively alerted about the products, services, and offers that meet their unique needs — without being inundated with marketing messages that bear no relevance to their personal profile or circumstance.

Unfortunately, Total Expert’s survey showed more than half of respondents still don’t achieve this basic level of personalization — 28% generally send the same messaging to all customers, while 34% attempt rudimentary personalization by manually segmenting data that originates from multiple sources.

When survey responses were segmented according to CX maturity, however, it became clear that the most mature institutions do indeed leverage connected data to send highly personalized communication to customers.

Institutions in higher stages of maturity prioritize strategies that generate revenue.

Banks and credit unions today have a wider array of customer engagement strategies they can deploy thanks to their expanding online portfolios.

While preliminary results found nearly equal usage of the customer engagement strategies listed in Total Expert’s survey, financial institutions with more mature CX appear to favor customer engagement strategies that deliver revenue growth (e.g. low debit/credit card transaction volume, low mobile banking usage, low online banking usage, and online application abandonment).


Three key learnings emerged from Total Expert’s survey results — learnings financial marketers can apply to improve and advance their institution’s own CX.

The Race Toward Humanization

Institutions are making organization-wide investments — staff, process, consultants,and technology – to improve CX. Time to deployment will define winners and losers because organizations that excel at experience tend to retain borrowers and depositors.

Building a CRM and customer engagement platform from scratch is not advisable when speed determines the value of upgrading CX capabilities.

Lay the Groundwork for Scale

Banking institutions across all CX maturity levels still suffer some level of limited data access, manual data segmentation efforts, and an inability to send relevant, custom messages to customers.

Without the right technology, every new milestone reached in segmentation and personalization comes more manual work, especially when it comes to maintaining contact data. Identify tactics to reduce inefficiencies caused by the manual work – data manipulation, custom email drafting, compliance management – that bogs down both

retail personnel and marketing teams.

Found CX Upgrades on Increasing Retail Banking Revenue

Our survey shows that respondents in the highest CX maturity stages prioritize customer engagement strategies that generate revenue.

Marketing and Retail Banking leaders should include increased debit card and credit card revenue in their business planning and reporting on CX upgrades.

Want to learn what other insights or firsthand knowledge banks and credit unions shared in Total Expert’s report? Read “Customer Experience Maturity for Financial Institutions.”