As a concept, Customer Experience (CX) is famously woolly and resistant to tangible measurement. However, it’s clear that growing numbers of asset managers are exhibiting a willingness to tangle with it.
In our research, the ‘ownership’ of customer experience emerged as a recurring theme, with asset management firms often seeking to clearly allocate responsibility for this concept among their internal business functions.
However, where and how this responsibility is distributed varies significantly. A handful of firms have established dedicated CX departments, on the pretext that creating a discrete internal structure to manage this concept will prevent its treatment as an afterthought by departments with other primary responsibilities.
A number of other businesses voiced a similar mentality, yet expressed reluctance to instigate major structural changes. The approach most often adopted by such firms is to stop short of creating a dedicated CX team but delegate ownership of CX to a single existing business function, with the rationale that this will enable a greater focus on the concept while preventing significant internal reorganisation. Departments that this responsibility is allocated to include marketing and sales. Marketing appears to have particularly grown in this regard, as the term ‘customer experience’ has increasingly come to encompass interactions with digital architecture and marketing collateral, rather than the in-person conversations traditionally considered the domain of sales.
A third path for asset managers – which was less frequently referenced, but is worthy of consideration – is the delivery of smooth CX through the prism of a central theme, such as education, rather than a specific business function. In this model different functions collaborate, with the theme serving as the impetus and focus of their efforts.
Whichever approach is chosen, a similar level of variety exists in the specific techniques used by firms to measure CX. Some asset managers opt to make use of broad-based market research produced by the likes of Greenwich, Broadridge and McKinsey & Company, either in isolation or conjunction with their own data-gathering. This data-gathering itself varies – some businesses conduct their own annual surveys, while others focus on the year-round collection of data through encouraging clients to rate and comment on content.
Some firms have developed their own proprietary scoring and benchmarking capabilities, with the goal of better measuring CX and assessing their own performance accordingly. Businesses deeper into this process are sometimes capable of collecting data at each client touchpoint, facilitating greater precision. A number of firms undertake an alternate approach, pursuing greater objectivity through outsourcing data-gathering on their own CX. While asset management firms may vary widely in how they allocate responsibility for and measure CX, our research indicates that what unites them is their shared expressions of its importance.
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