Keeping the human touch in the digital bank
The Covid-19 outbreak and resulting restrictions forced banks to close physical branches, forcing customers to switch to digital banking channels.
As customers moved online, so did customer service. In fact, digital channels have become the primary way for financial institutions to communicate with their customers. Pushing customers to digital channels was also attractive to organizations because they are more cost effective.
Financial institution customers have now learned to expect a digital-first strategy. But often the problem with digital-first approaches is that they don’t put the customer first. Providing customers with digital banking tools and self-service features doesn’t have to mean banks abandon them to self-service and sift through mountains of information to find what’s most relevant. Not only does this approach cause banks to lose communication with customers, but it also leads to consumers feeling frustrated when digital channels do not allow them to talk to their bank on demand.
Customer expectations are higher than ever when it comes to digital banking, but new data from Gartner has revealed that most still prefer to connect with humans through physical, assisted channels when it comes to banking, especially for transactions. great value. For example, clients demand one-on-one conversations to ensure clarity and understanding when applying for large loans, buying a home, or starting a business. Therefore, these products are best sold in person, either via video call or in branch.
After months of isolation, customers also need social encounters, so they are looking for a balance between online and physical experiences. Therefore, they change channels more often than before. That’s why every financial institution should prepare for customers to ask the following question in 2022 and beyond: “Can I talk to someone please?”
Customers increasingly expect banks to provide a channel-agnostic experience that integrates self-service and assisted services. To meet the complex financial needs of customers, banks need to implement an omnichannel approach that seamlessly integrates digital and physical channels. Here, the objectives for banks must be to make all the functionalities of physical branches accessible online and to combine digital services and human support to demonstrate that they are attentive to the needs of their customers.
Financial institutions can enhance the digital experience by giving customers access to real-world interactions through technologies such as messaging apps, dedicated direct connect buttons, video, and front-end chat. VeriPark plans to develop a widget that will allow customers to click a “can I talk to someone?” on their mobile banking app when they encounter a problem and choose to engage in a conversation with a chatbot, call the contact center or make an appointment with a relationship manager.
This example demonstrates that instead of being implemented to simply move customers into low-cost channels, digital technology should be used to guide them through the most efficient customer journey available. For example, if a customer finds a transaction on their credit card statement that they don’t recognize or believe to be in error, they can initiate a dispute through their mobile app or online banking channel. However, if they contact an assisted channel two days later, they usually have to repeat their story.
At VeriPark, we believe customers should only share their story once. This requires banks to have an omnichannel strategy that merges digital and assisted channels under one umbrella with a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Banks achieve parity when they implement an omnichannel approach to contact centers, mobile and web channels because they can offer customers the same great service and functionality regardless of touchpoint or channel which they prefer to use.
All customer appointments, complaints or service requests filed through an omnichannel platform are routed to the bank’s CRM system, which consolidates customer interactions across all channels in one place. CRM systems provide agents with accurate information about a customer’s transaction history, preferences, and complaints before they meet in person or on the phone, so the customer doesn’t have to repeat their story . Having access to all information in a single customer view means that the banking agent spends much less time preparing for a face-to-face meeting with the customer, making it much easier to respond immediately to any service request and get it fulfilled.
Banks now have the opportunity to reinvent themselves and rethink customer service. To achieve this, banks must move from a “transaction-first” model to a “customer-first” approach. Moving to this customer-centric strategy has several benefits, including improved customer experience and satisfaction, as well as greater loyalty and retention.
VeriPark has helped several clients focus on the most important aspects of the customer experience, resulting in a superior level of service and tangible results. We continually enrich our channel offerings with data and insights from our live customers. When we spot customer issues, we resolve them in a way that incorporates customer concerns, such as security or service level commitments, into our digital channel products so that we can provide our customers with the best digital applications.
Özkan Erener is CEO of VeriPark
This article originally appeared in the Winter 21/22 issue of Technology Record. To receive future issues straight to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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