A new approach to customer journey mapping highlights product improvement opportunities with significant bottom-line benefits

By: Jordan Sternlieb

Across various industries, customer journey mapping has become an important tool for discovering deficiencies in customer experience. For years, we have been working side-by-side with our clients, including many banks, to utilize journey mapping to identify areas of opportunity. Recently, we’ve seen the benefit of taking this approach to the next level by combining the principles of customer journey mapping and process modeling to understand the overall effectiveness of a specific banking product from both customers’ and internal employees’ perspectives.

This newer approach looks at the product from end to end to understand overall effectiveness and to identify areas of improvement that could have a positive effect on the bottom line. Then, when combined with knowledge of leading practices and competitive research, this insight can help prioritize improvements and model the quantitative financial opportunity.

A recent example

Recently, our team collaborated with a top-50 national bank to review the effectiveness of its home equity line of credit (HELOC) product. The bank believed its HELOC product was not competitive against peers’ products and that it had a significant opportunity to increase sales volume and improve the overall product experience. Additionally, the bank wanted to understand the challenges of and opportunities for improving fulfillment, servicing, operational efficiency, and overall client perception.

To address the bank’s concerns, we mapped the current experience, documented opportunities for improvement, and then outlined the ideal future experience for its HELOC product. Then, together with the client’s team, we identified initiatives the bank would need to take to create the “ideal” product experience, and we prioritized these initiatives into groups of short-term, medium-term, and long-term projects. Lastly, we plotted these prioritized projects on a road map and prepared a business case that quantified the opportunities for the bank’s management and helped to justify the investments needed to make improvements.

From analysis to insight to successful change within weeks

This approach revealed various opportunities to simplify the application process, execute more effective marketing strategies, reevaluate underwriting requirements, and improve product utilization. Moreover, the analysis showed that with a few “quick fixes,” the bank conservatively could expect to increase net interest revenue by $3.5-$4.5 million in the first year—a return of approximately 50 to 1 in just in that year. With additional steps taken, the bank could gain net incremental interest revenue of $13 to $15 million by 2017. And backed by competitive research and industry leading practices, the study quantified bank’s long-term opportunity at approximately $30 million in net incremental interest revenue.

The lesson here is that a relatively fast analysis project (this one took a short six to eight weeks), which utilized a common approach (journey mapping) combined with process modeling to take a fresh look at the issue, yielded significant bottom-line improvement opportunities—notably with just a handful of changes, some of which were short-term “quick hits.”

For more information on West Monroe Partners’ product effectiveness mapping methodology and how we can assist with product performance and effectiveness, please contact Jordan Sternlieb at jsternlieb@westmonroepartners.com. Jordan is a Senior Manager in West Monroe Partners’ Banking and Credit Unions Practice based on Los Angeles.