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Reshaping Customer Management

By Christopher Higgins, CIO, Technology Delivery & Infrastructure Services, U.S. Bank [NYSE:USB]

Christopher Higgins, CIO, Technology Delivery & Infrastructure Services, U.S. Bank [NYSE:USB]

As Chief Information Officer of Technology and Operations Services at U.S. Bank, you might expect me to care most about technology and operations business processes for the successful delivery of technology. While these are certainly critical el­ements, I believe these are not the most important. I have come to strongly believe everything needs to start with a de­fined customer and employee experience. Each interaction a customer has with a company presents an opportunity for a good, fair or bad experience. The customer experience and employee support of that experience needs to be the starting point for successful business engagements which are enabled, not driven by, technology and data. Technology and processes matter, but people matter more.

This is where customer centric engineering comes in. Listening to customers’ needs and understanding what will make their experience better enhances the overall customer experience. It’s about understanding and solving their pain points, being responsive and making improvements. Customers today have elevated knowledge around technology. With that comes an elevated demand. People know more and expect more. Addressing customers’ unique needs and providing solutions that are best in the industry brings inherent value to our organization. This is increasingly important in the digital economy where the pace of change continues to accelerate. We need to ensure we are bringing our customers along on the journey.

Technology can provide many capabilities, but comfort is often not among them. At U.S. Bank, we use customer and employee feedback to continuously improve the way we deliver our technology. Customers and employees want to feel comfortable and have their needs met simply and without complications. Here are a few examples of what we are doing at U.S. Bank to listen to feedback from our customers and employees, aiming to have our technology help them feel more comfortable. 

We are building a new interface for our tellers to use when engaging with our customers. We solicited feedback from more than 500 tellers and bankers during the design of the project, and we learned what we thought would be very helpful to them was not. Their feedback helped us realize a key feature we overlooked that ended up being essential to the interface functionality. The additional software development we added to the project to build the key feature is well worth the additional time and investment because we know we are building the right solution that will enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.

"Technology and processes matter, but people matter more"

Another example comes from our annual employee engagement survey that helps us understand what we’re doing well and what we can do better. The improvements we make are directly based on employee feedback and help us grow as a company. Through this survey, we heard repeatedly from employees that the current e-mail and calendar solution was not the best tool for them to work most collaboratively and efficiently. Based on that, we invested in delivering the web-based tool for e-mail and calendar to all employees. In January of this year, we started migrating select employees to web app, sought feedback on their user experience, and heard from employees who heavily depend on e-mail and calendar that they needed more functionality. As a result of that feedback, we made the decision to include the more robust desktop client in our implementation to ensure employees had the right e-mail and calendar functionality for their jobs.

We are also learning how to make the workspaces for our employees more comfortable and collaborative for the type of work they do, and actively applying what we have learned to some of our real estate projects. In San Francisco, we have a new collaborative workspace that reflects our core values and reinforces our key theme of one U.S. Bank. The workspace includes huddle rooms for employees to discuss, engage and work collaboratively across teams and toward a common objective. As part of this collaborative workspace, our customer experience lab provides space to bring in customers to observe how they use our digital capabilities and have them give immediate, direct feedback.

Whether responding to employee feedback to deliver the best technology tools or listening to customers to understanding their unique needs, customer centric engineering is critical to the success of our organization.