Q&A with Rodney Prezeau, SVP, Affluent Client Experience, Charles Schwab
The quality of a customer experience is determined by its ability to serve customers across three fundamental dimensions – what Forrester calls ‘The Three E’s of Customer Experience:’
- Effectiveness – customers get value from the experience.
- Ease – customers get value without difficulty.
- Emotion – customers feel good about the experience.
Many of our industry speakers at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum West later this week will talk about how they strive to meet the these three E’s – well exemplified by my exchange below with Rodney Prezeau, SVP of Affluent Client Experience at Charles Schwab.
“Some firms strive to dazzle, but we find it’s the simple things that count the most. We aim to be brilliant at the basics, and to be easy to do business with – whether that’s eliminating nuisance fees or streamlining the on-line experience.”
There’s a lot more insight to come from Rodney this Friday in Anaheim. But for a sneak peak, check out his response to the questions I posed below. Hope to see you all in Anaheim.
Q. When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
A. Placing clients at the center of what we do has been our approach from the very start, in 1973. Back then, our founder Chuck Schwab charged $70 for stock trades when everyone else was charging $400. The same held true when we developed the Mutual Fund OneSource program to streamline the mutual fund research/buying process. At Schwab, when we develop new approaches we start by asking, “What would be great for clients?” Once that’s established, we ask “How can we make money?” Others might drive their business by doing things in the opposite order, but we really do try to see things first through client eyes, and we find that loyalty follows.
Q. What aspects of the experience that your company delivers matter most to your customers? (In other words, what aspects of the experience must you try to excel at?)
A. Some firms strive to dazzle, but we find it’s the simple things that count the most. We aim to be brilliant at the basics, and to be easy to do business with – whether that’s eliminating nuisance fees or streamlining the on-line experience. We try to be there for clients in the ways they choose – if they want personal contact, we can do that. If they prefer to rely on technology to get what they need, it’s there for them.
Q. How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts, e.g., higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs? And have you seen progress over time?
A. We measure progress using our own version of Fred Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score, which we call Client Promoter Score.
By listening and responding to client feedback, we are able to measure how effective we are at delighting our clients, and Identify opportunities to improve our processes and products. CPS is our strategy for listening and interacting with clients. We work hard to close the loop with them – we feel strongly that if we ask for feedback, we need to act upon it. We call all detractors and route feedback in 24 hours to address the input. It has been a great source of turning around difficult client relationships.
In 2010, we reached out to more than 2.2 million clients, plan participants, sponsors and advisors and received responses from over 310,000 of them. In 2013, we reached out to more than 2.4 million clients, plan participants, sponsors and advisors and received responses from over 523,000 of them.
CPS was a key component of Schwab’s turnaround after 2004; Schwab Investor Services CPS is now at an all-time high, with an 83 point improvement since we began using CPS in 2005.
Hear more from Rodney at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum West, this Thursday and Friday in Anaheim, CA.