Digital trends and technologies transforming CX in banking and finance
The tastes of this new class of customers collide with the traditional way of service that dominates the financial sector. They have grown up in a completely digital environment. They have no attachment to the legacy systems that banks and financial companies have held onto for years, despite the wave of new technology in business and communications.
A 2017 report by Accenture indicated that 71% of financial services consumers are willing to use “fully computer-generated support for banking services.” It is clear that the majority of consumers are ready to go fully digital.
This prospect presents a problem for legacy-loving companies, and getting a handle on the situation means taking decisive action now. It’s no longer enough to automate customer support through a healthy knowledge base or ready-made live web chat responses. What is needed now is to design customer support and the entire customer experience to meet and enhance the increasingly digital customer journey. At the very least, integrating your voice communication tools and your customer records, such as Salesforce Cisco phone integration, will allow your customer service teams to streamline the way they deliver service by ensuring that call data are recorded at every point of contact with the customer.
Transforming the entire customer experience from traditional to digital takes a lot of time and work, but incremental changes can still have an impact on CX. Financial services providers can begin their transformation by injecting these trends and technologies into their CX strategy:
The first point of customer service contact for most finance users is not social media, phone or email. It’s actually self-service. More than 80% of consumers choose to use a web or mobile app for self-service instead of speaking with a customer service representative on the phone. You shouldn’t expect your phone team to be on the front lines of customer service. Customers only turn to their phones when they want to escalate their concerns. Even then, having a CTI solution like Salesforce-Cisco phone integration ensures that every customer interaction is recorded in your CRM.
Self-service is preferred by consumers of financial services because it gives them more control. This means that self-service means that customers dictate when and where they interact with their supplier. It also allows users to have more freedom in their financial activities without disruptive ads or not-so-subtle offers from CS representatives. As customers want to become more independent from their providers, financial services companies are also becoming more compelled to provide better self-service options through proprietary web applications and automated CS technologies.
Chatbots and virtual assistants
The quest for faster and more efficient services has ultimately led to this: 85% of customer interactions will be automated by 2020, according to Gartner. Chatbots and smart assistants are finding their way into various verticals, serving different purposes from customer support, marketing and sales. These AI-powered robots are used by the world’s largest banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, HSBC (Hong Kong) and SEB (Sweden).
Chatbots enable banks and financial services companies to provide efficient, personalized and responsive customer service at minimal cost. Chatbots are available 24/7 and are able to quickly match customer requests with solutions. Some are also programmed to accept leads, and the most advanced can make personalized recommendations based on previous interactions, customer data and other factors.
Detractors of chatbot technology say these tools lack the empathy of human CS representatives. While this is true, we also have to admit that chatbots are improving this aspect over time. Machine learning algorithms help these virtual assistants learn more about the art of human conversation from experience. With such capabilities, chatbots prove to be sufficient in handling basic customer service requests, satisfying users with their effectiveness and efficiency.
Today, consumers interact with their financial service providers across multiple touchpoints—from online, to branches, and even on mobile devices. Omnichannel service means connecting all these touchpoints to create a seamless, consistent and delightful customer experience. Put another way, it means allowing customers to move from one touchpoint to another without experiencing a disconnect or interruption.
Creating an omnichannel experience for customers is not a new trend. As early as 2014, a Forrester study already identified omnichannel banking as one of finance professionals’ top five concerns for business application transformation. Yet many banks and finance companies still lag behind in this area due to unsustainable organizational and operational divisions between marketing, sales and customer support.
Banks that want to overcome this problem must change their thinking from product-centric to customer-centric. Putting the customer at the heart of their CX question will allow them to see touchpoints more clearly and accurately anticipate consumer needs in every interaction. Another important aspect of this is the unification of data across teams and platforms, facilitating the flow of information across channels to ensure that customer interactions are not disrupted when they shift their activities from, say, making an inquiry about sale to address a product problem.
Going omnichannel pays off not only through increased customer satisfaction, but can directly lead to higher revenue. The world’s top banks derive 50% of their sales from digital channels, proving the importance of digitization for success in the financial sector.
An omnichannel experience is not possible without integration. All platforms used to interact with customers and manage their data and transactions must be connected to ensure the smoothest workflow and highest quality service. The key here is connecting digital applications used to serve financial consumers with physical bank locations and customer communication platforms.
Digital integrations have been implemented in the financial services sector, but only a minority of customers (16%) are satisfied with the digital experience provided by their banks. The problem here again is that customer data is not shared between segments in the organization. Each team can do well on its own, but rigid siloing of operations affects the overall customer experience.
The solution to this is to ease the flow of information through digital integrations. Different software and applications can now integrate different systems, allowing financial companies to mix software vendors if they want. For example, a CTI solution like Salesforce Cisco Phone Integration connects voice communication tools with computers, streamlining many sales and customer support tasks. There are also specific applications that are aimed at synchronizing chat channels or even emails with local banking software.
Infusing CX with new financial technologies
With AI and more mobile technologies come more opportunities to personalize CX and make it more pleasant, enjoyable and safer for users.
Some technologies that financial services companies can explore are:
Biometric-based customer identification – Banks and financial companies can now choose to use biometric technology instead of a username-password combination for customer login and verification into their systems. Various options are available such as fingerprint, iris, retina and voice recognition. In addition to being more secure, these technologies are more efficient and easier for users to use.
Robo-advisors – Like chatbots, these virtual advisors are powered by machine learning and are viable replacements for human investment managers. They are generally used to analyze risks and assist users in portfolio management.
Internet of Things – With the Internet literally connecting everything, financial transactions will become more fluid and mobile. Checking your account on your wearable? Or while driving? You can do all this with IoT.
Banking as a service
Tech companies are leading the way in the digital banking experience, and banks and other traditional financial institutions would do better to learn from them. They could emulate them and build their own, or they could be smarter about it and do it the faster way – that is, partner with companies offering BaaS and BaaP.
Banks working with APIs and BaaS will lead to concrete changes in the way both individual consumers and business customers bank.
For users, one advantage would be that all accounts can be accessed through a single app, making transactions easier. Managing these individual accounts can also be done on any device, as the data will be stored in the cloud. Individuals will also receive personalized advice on portfolios, stocks and other financial products.
B2B customers gain even more as the digitization of finance leads to savings in administrative and infrastructure costs.
Partnering with new digital platforms will allow banks to catch up and provide customers with the sleek, mobile experience that has become the norm in the digital age. It might cost a little investment, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.
Financial service providers must decisively shift gears before they lose touch with their customers and are left behind in the digital age. These trends and technologies aim to usher in a new era of financial services, one that is more adept at serving digitally savvy and mobile customers. However, this does not mean that banks and finance companies can do without their customer service lines and human agents.
Cultivating productive long-term customer relationships requires covering all bases, from digital to non-digital touchpoints. Phone calls, live chats, and customer meetings still have a big impact on overall CX, especially because these interactions involve human representatives from within the company. Ultimately, digital experiences serve as a continuation of the personal connection that financial companies create with their customers.
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