Katrina Bradley: Mastering the Episodes That Count with Customers

As customer preferences evolve, companies need to deliver effortless and personalized customer episodes with a human touch. Katrina Bradley, a partner in Bain's Customer Strategy & Marketing practice, shares the four steps companies can take to effectively meet customer expectations with episodes while driving out cost and complexity in their business.

Read the Bain Brief: Running the Business through Your Customer's Eyes

Read the transcript below.

KATRINA BRADLEY: Banking customers increasingly care not only about the product but about the entire experience wrapped around that product. For credit cards that might include the process of applying for a new card, how easy it is to make online payments, or what happens when a card is lost or stolen. And leading banks who are delivering a great customer experience are typically adopting a new way of managing their business, according to customer episodes. A customer episode is defined when a customer has an unmet need and only ends when that need is met. It's not defined according to a company's internal processes or their organization structure.

What makes for a compelling episode? Well, there are a few common themes. Firstly, companies who do this well genuinely put themselves in the shoes of their customers, and see the experience through their eyes. And then a great episode is usually effortless. It's personalized, and it's delivered with a human touch.

We find that there are four key steps that companies go through to design and deliver great episodes. Those start with focusing on the episodes that really matter, and this is based on how often customers experience an episode, its emotional impact and also the impact on the financials of the company by doing a better job of delivering that episode. Secondly, they then design and continuously improve that episode using agile methods. Third, they instill some key metrics and some high-velocity feedback loops, so they can understand how they're doing on delivering that episode. And finally, they then assign strict accountability for that episode to one or two key executives. We find that banks who follow these steps not only meet their customer expectations for a great episode, but at the same time, they often drive out costs and complexity from their business.

Read the Bain Brief: Running the Business through Your Customer's Eyes