Bringing behavioural science into your customer experience
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With over 15 years of success in applied behavioural science, we were delighted to welcome Richard Chataway, CEO at the BVA Nudge Unit UK, to speak at our recent Future of Service Forum on driving digital adoption. Richard was able to take the audience through the techniques derived from behavioural science that can contribute to an enhanced customer experience. In addition, sharing how BVA Nudge Unit have successfully driven adoption of digital services in banking. In our latest guest blog, Richard highlights the insights he delivered in the session.
Every piece of customer communication can – and should – attempt to change people’s behaviour. After all, unless a business is influencing behaviour, it is not succeeding. A business needs people to buy and use its products and services to generate revenue. And it needs to do those things better than its competitors to survive - and grow.
But it is not enough to recognise that all communication should change behaviour; brands have to recognise that everything communicates, and therefore has the opportunity to influence behaviour. Whether it be what your employees say on the phone or in person, the copy on your website, or the script used by your chatbot.
The good news is that due to advances in understanding of the drivers and barriers of behaviour (collectively behavioural science) we have learnt more about behaviour in the last 50 years than the previous 5,000. This tells us that how you say something matters as much as what you say. Context is everything – which is also why testing and experimentation in context is so important.
At BVA Nudge Unit we have been successfully applying insights from behavioural science to optimise and test communications for a number of years, and I shared some of these examples at the Future of Service forum – in particular looking at how we have successfully driven adoption of digital services in banking.
We often do this via a COGNITION audit – an expert review rooted in behavioural science, where our COGNITION framework is applied to create a shortlist of optimisations designed to be put into testing. The results achieved have been dramatic – this approach helped one of the UK’s largest savings banks achieve an 11% efficiency saving via its call centre, through incorporating behavioural ‘nudges’ into the scripting and structures used by customer service representatives.
We have applied this approach to optimise the customer experience by changing physical elements of the customer journey, to drive use of digital self-service options. A Latin-American bank deployed nudges in the branch environment (such as floor signage and colour schemes) to encourage use of automatic deposit cashiers – the initial trial in two branches saw an increase of usage of 35%overall, from 12% before the intervention to 16% afterwards. In the UK a pilot using purely conversation-based nudges by staff in 8 branches similarly increased usage of self-service by 8%.
These techniques can also deliver better customer experiences within digital channels, and encourage continued adoption and usage. At the forum we shared data from our sister company BVA BDRC that shows that the biggest barriers to customer adoption of banking websites and apps relate to ease of usage, and that the ‘neobanks’ (Monzo, Starling etc.) far out-perform the traditional banks in terms of Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is because customers find them much easier (i.e. less cognitively effortful) to transact with.
This accords with our experience optimising digital banking experiences, where ‘making it easy’ for customers can have large positive effects. In 2018, a credit card company asked us to behaviourally optimise their consumer website. They found that, having driven potential customers to their site, surprisingly few actually went on to apply for a card. A COGNITION audit identified several opportunities to make the user experience cognitively easier – including that users had to scroll through three pages of (largely irrelevant) product information before they got to the ‘Apply Now’ button. For customers wanting to get on with an application, this required unnecessary cognitive effort.
One of our recommendations was to conduct an A/B test to see how the existing website compared to a version where the button was made more salient – by moving it ‘above the fold’, to the top of the web page. This instantly increased the click-through rate to application on the webpage by 54%.
For businesses that can collate data on actual behaviour and test accordingly, there really are no excuses for not doing these kinds of live user tests, and the benefits are potentially huge.
Accordingly, there are opportunities to apply techniques derived from behavioural science to optimise CX across all touchpoints, throughout the user journey. I like to say that if you are in business, you are in the business of behaviour. Applying the latest knowledge of how to influence behaviour should therefore be considered every bit as critical as optimising the technology and operations that deliver it.
Find out more about our webinar on driving digital adoption and the key highlights from the day here.