How experimentation helps create leading customer experiences

Why Experimentation Matters

There's no denying that the world around us is changing and that we must continue to evolve and innovate to keep pace – now more than ever before.

Blockchain, voice interfaces, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality – the list of opportunities goes on. But there's also a lot of uncertainty: No one knows which technologies will work out. Some might turn out to be impractical or too expensive, others might not captivate customers, or could be way ahead of their time.

So how can organizations thrive in this reality? Becoming comfortable with experimentation, trialing and maybe failing in order to push into new spaces will be essential.

Experimentation is not a new idea, and at TD, we have done small scale experimentation, including working with focus groups and building test apps. More recently, we added a new TD skill on Amazon Alexa and we were the first bank globally to offer Facebook Messenger as a way of connecting with customers. In terms of what's on the horizon, we are also working on integrating conversational artificial intelligence into our leading mobile app. These are great examples of how TD is increasingly exploring new technologies.

READ: TD is Banking on Voice with new TD Skill on Amazon Alexa

However, beyond adoption of new technologies, we are also looking at experimentation as a purposeful and deliberate strategy to test new customer solutions before we make them available to the broader market. A bold experiment is one designed to test the market, to test an idea.

Experiments are great if they can quickly establish if something isn't going to work. Experiments that generate some experience that informs the second version are even better. However, experiments require a lot of self-discipline. They can't be all things to all people, and most importantly they can't be perfect. Experiments must be adaptable, contained, short-lived, focused, repeatable and designed for learning. And they need to be affordable. They also require a humble approach because as we all know, many experiments don't turn out exactly like we planned. With every experiment, the goal will always be to build on what we learn.

READ: TD's innovation agenda: Experiments with Alexa, AI and augmented reality, American Banker

Taking unperfected technology solutions and trialing them with small groups of customers, or launching a new feature, product or service to a subset of customers and watching how they use and adopt it are exciting and productive ways to experiment. When you build an experiment, your objective is not to make money or improve customer service in year one – it's to learn how to do it for year two.

We have very high standards at TD, and anything we're going to make available for customers needs to be great. One of the goals of TD's Innovation Centre of Excellence is to foster a wider culture of experimentation and establish a baseline for how we can do experimentation at scale to help us get from good to great. Early and rapid experimentation can help us quickly figure out which innovations we'll perfect into first-class offerings for all of our customers.

Tim Hogarth

Vice President of Innovation Framework and Strategies