Customer experience (CX)  is an important business initiative for many organizations with obvious benefits, like revenue and increased customer lifetime value, as well as for improvement to meet the rising benchmark of digital natives with increasing decision-making authority and buying power. The recent unprecedented explosion in online transactions means there’s more reason than ever to be vigilant for fraud while meeting the seamless transaction expectations consumers want.

As part of the Emailage, a LexisNexis Risk Solutions Company, virtual event series, we interviewed Cambria Hobbs, a Customer Success manager for Emailage about  how fraud and customer experience are connected. The transcript below features the presentation and has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Why has customer experience become a focus for brands recently?

Organizations in the S&P 500 that are leading in customer experience have customers that are seven times more likely to purchase from them again or purchase more from them. And they’re 15 times more likely to spread positive word of mouth and tell their friends and family to buy more. And that is, you know, seven times and 15 times more likely than their competitors and their peers in the same space. I think that’s a really powerful metric and it really outlines what I think we’re trying to drive home today. 

Something  I’ve experienced in this, personally, is when my  customers are willing to try new things with us. They’re going to be willing to beta test new products, maybe experiment with our existing products – those types of things. But I think most importantly, they  tell their friends, their family, their colleagues to also come to your business, to find new things, trying new things, buy again, come back. All of those.That’s especially important in today’s market with the pandemic that’s affected us all. Consumers are going to spend with brands that they trust. Brands that they know are going to get them that positive experience overall at every step of the way. So having a positive experience, not only over the lifetime of the customer, but from the very second that you send them a marketing email or they come to your website. It’s so important to ensure the lifetime value of any consumer or customer that you have.

What gets in the way of great customer experiences?

I think if you were to ask anyone — whether they’re consumer or vendor, merchant, what have you — one of the first things that’s going to come to mind is: mistakes happen. Businesses make mistakes. Fulfillment centers make mistakes. Things are out of stock. Customer service reps make mistakes, etcetera. But, those kinds of situations can be a really good opportunity for your organization to turn a dissatisfied customer into an extremely loyal customer. 

I don’t remember where I read this statistic, but some studies have shown that 95 percent of customers that have a negative experience are willing to give the brand a second chance. So that’s why customer experience at every step of the way and focusing on putting your customers first is so important.

Payments.com did put together some statistics recently, and e-commerce companies, specifically, could be missing out on 42 percent of their sales due to friction in the checkout process. What that means for fraud and risk professionals is a few things:

  • Maybe they don’t have a budget to have a good process in place.
  • Maybe there isn’t buy-in from other teams in the organization.
  • Maybe there isn’t enough coordination with other teams in the organization. 
  • Maybe their tools are kind of outdated. 
  • Maybe they have tools that are static and not able to adapt to changing scenarios. 

So it’s really important to shift your organization’s perspective as a whole to be customer-centric so when these things occur — when you see you  are losing sales due to that lack of conversion during the checkout process or even post checkout — you’re able to shift and be flexible in your approach so you can capture revenue in the future. 

How can you create great experiences without increasing risk and fraud?

What I’ve seen through the various stages and positions in my career, what it really comes down to is:  does your organization have customer empathy? 

And I’m not necessarily saying the customers are always right. But rather how does your customer feel? 

Like I said before, when they get that first marketing email from you, when you pop up on their Instagram feed or their LinkedIn, how do they feel when they come to your website, when they talk to somebody who’s customer facing? How do they feel when something does happen to their order, whether something’s out of stock, or they need to verify some additional information, because it did get caught by those fraud tools.

 It’s really an end to end process. Which ties in my second point — which I’ve already touched on a couple of different times because it’s so important — having alignment with internal teams. 

If your entire organization has shifted to that customer-first and customer-centric mentality, this is going to be a lot easier, but it doesn’t always happen that way.  

Having a QA program incorporated into their customer journey is a huge benefit. When you’re building a software, when you’re building machinery, every kind of thing like that that has a QA program to  make sure everything’s functioning as it’s supposed to. You know, there aren’t any unintended consequences that they work out of all of the bugs before it goes to production. But that’s not always the case for things that occur upon the customer journey. 

So having a QA to monitor the checkout process, having an QA to monitor any customer interactions, and I think the customer interaction piece is really important. 

You’ve got to ask:

  • How are your reps phrasing these issues?
  • How are they addressing the customers when they have these concerns? 
  • How are they addressing not only the good customers but the bad customers? 
  • How are they able to weed those things out?

Ultimately, if you’re not flexible and you’re not open minded and willing to adjust your processes as things happen, at the end of the day, you’re going to fail in this regard, I can basically promise it.

How do you help clients to have a positive impact on customer experience?

So excuse me if I start to get a little bit excited here, I’m passionate about this. What it really takes when I’m working alongside my clients  is a lot of vigilance, a lot of collaboration, a lot of data analysis and a lot of  behind the scene work. We get creative about how we’re approaching these separate but combined problems. 

Here’s a good example,  a travel company  we were working with a few years back was looking to expand internationally, which can be a really scary thing in and of itself. When you expand into a new market, there’s new consumers, there’s new data, there’s new behaviors. And if you don’t have any information on that data or you’re not partnered with vendors and tools that do, it can be a really challenging thing to undertake. By working with this team, doing some analysis, using our consortium data that’s global and has exposure to a myriad of different industries, we were able to help them expand really confidently with a 24 percent increase in the approval rate in these new markets while maintaining 99.5 percent of our accuracy rate overall. I think it is a really powerful demonstration of how the collaboration, the vigilance, all of the projects that we went into behind the scenes really paid off in the long run. 

Another really good example is a money transfer company. One of the challenges they were facing on the customer experience side was how many orders were getting pushed to their manual review team. Their thresholds were identifying so many of these orders that ultimately ended getting approved or maybe didn’t need as much attention.

By helping them streamline their processes, we were able to reduce the amount of time spent on manual reviews by seven and a half hours per week per agent. So that’s seven and a half hours of reviewing orders and spending time on customers, calling them asking for verification that could have been approved out of the gate. Those customers are now receiving a streamlined experience. They aren’t at risk for not coming back in the future. They become those loyal customers.

 I was really excited about that one personally, having been a manual review agent myself. There was nothing worse than getting an order and realizing — oh, this didn’t need to be here.

To sum it up

Cambria summed up what we hope to achieve for Emailage customers when it comes to outsmarting fraud and delivering great client experiences: “We want the absolute most terrible inconvenient experience for fraudsters, but pave the way for great customers.”

Register for an upcoming Emailage virtual event.