Digital trends and technologies transforming CX in banking and finance

The taste of this new class of clients collides with the traditional mode of service that dominates the financial sector. They grew up in a completely digital environment. They are not attached to the legacy systems that banks and finance companies have clung to for years, despite the wave of new technology in business and communications.

A 2017 Accenture report indicated that 71% of financial services consumers are open to using “fully computer-generated support for banking services.” Clearly, most consumers are ready to go completely digital.

This prospect presents a problem for companies that love legacy systems, and coping properly with the situation means acting decisively now. It’s no longer enough to automate customer support through a healthy knowledge base or canned responses to live web chat. What is needed now is to design customer service and the entire customer experience to fit and enhance an increasingly digital customer journey. At a minimum, integrating your voice communication tools and your customer records, like the Salesforce Cisco phone integration, for example, would allow your customer service teams to optimize the way they deliver service by ensuring that Conversation data is captured at every customer touch point.

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 service providers can start their transformation by injecting these trends and technologies into their CX strategy:

self service

The first customer service point of contact for most financial consumers is not social media, phone or email. It’s actually self service. More than 80% of consumers prefer to use a web or mobile self-service application 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 the Salesforce-Cisco phone integration ensures that every customer interaction is recorded in your CRM.

Financial services consumers prefer self-service because it gives them more control. In other words, self-service means that customers dictate when and where they will interact with their provider. It also allows consumers more freedom over their financial activities without disruptive ads or not-so-subtle suggestions from CS representatives. As customers demand to be more independent from their providers, financial services companies are also being pushed more to provide better self-service options through native web applications and automated CS technologies.

Chatbots and virtual assistants

The demand for faster and more efficient services has eventually led to this: 85% of customer interactions will be automated by 2020, according to Gartner. Chatbots and intelligent assistants are finding their way into various verticals, serving various purposes from customer support, marketing, and sales. These robots, powered by artificial intelligence, 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 service to customers at minimal cost. Chatbots are available 24/7 and are able to quickly match customer queries to solutions. Some are also programmed to capture leads, and the more advanced ones can make personalized recommendations based on past interactions, customer data, and other factors.

Critics of chatbot technology say these tools lack the empathy of human CS representatives. While that is true, we must also recognize that chatbots improve 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 to handle basic customer service queries, pleasing consumers with their efficiency and effectiveness.

omnichannel service

These days, consumers interact with their financial service providers across a multitude of touchpoints, from online, to the branch, and even on mobile devices. Omnichannel service means connecting all of these touchpoints to create a seamless, consistent, and enjoyable experience for customers. Put another way, it means enabling customers to move from one touchpoint to another without feeling interrupted or disconnected.

Creating an omnichannel experience for customers is not a new trend. Back in 2014, a Forrester survey already established omnichannel banking as one of financial professionals’ top five concerns for business application transformation. However, many banks and finance companies are still lagging behind in this area, due to unsustainable organizational and operational divisions between marketing, sales and customer service.

Banks that want to overcome this problem must change their mindset from product-centric to customer-centric. Putting the customer at the center of their CX question will allow them to see touchpoints more clearly and accurately anticipate consumer needs in every interaction. Another crucial aspect of this is unifying data across teams and platforms, facilitating the flow of information across channels to ensure that customer interactions are not interrupted when activities change from, say, making a sales inquiry to address a product issue.

Omnichannel is not only worthwhile because it increases customer satisfaction, but it can also directly lead to higher revenue. The world’s leading banks derive 50% of their sales from digital channels, demonstrating the importance of digitization for success in the financial sector.

digital integrations

An omnichannel experience is not possible without integration. All platforms used to interact with customers and manage their data and transactions must be linked to ensure the smoothest workflow and highest quality service. The key here is to connect the digital applications used to serve financial consumers with the banks’ physical 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 is, again, that data about customers is not shared across segments of the organization. Each team may do well on its own, but the rigidity of siled operations affects the overall customer experience.

The solution to this is to facilitate the flow of information through digital integrations. Various software and applications are now capable of integrating disparate systems, allowing financial companies to mix software providers if they wish. For example, a CTI solution like Salesforce Cisco Phone Integration connects voice communication tools to computers, streamlining many sales and customer service tasks. There are also specific apps that focus on synchronizing chat channels or even emails with local banking software.

Infuse CX with new financial technologies

With AI and more mobile technology comes more opportunities to personalize CX and make it more enjoyable, enjoyable and safe for consumers.

Some technologies that financial services companies can explore are:

Biometric-based customer identification: Banks and finance companies can now choose to use biometric technology instead of a username/password combination for customer entry and verification in their systems. Various options are available such as fingerprint, iris, retina, and voice recognition. In addition to being safer, these technologies are more efficient and easier for consumers to use.

Robo-advisors: Similar to chatbots, these virtual advisors are powered by machine learning and are viable substitutes for human investment managers. They are often used to analyze risks and help consumers with portfolio management.

Internet of Things: With the Internet connecting literally everything, financial transactions will become more seamless and mobile. Checking your account on your handheld device? Or while driving? You can do all of that with IoT.

banking as a service

Technology companies are leading the way in digital banking experiences, and banks and other traditional financial institutions would do better to learn from them. They could emulate them and create their own, or they could be smarter about it and do it the faster way, ie partner with companies that offer BaaS and BaaP.

Banks working with APIs and BaaS will result in concrete changes in the way both individual consumers and business customers bank.

For consumers, one advantage would be that all accounts can be accessed through one app, making transactions easier. The management of these individual accounts can also be done on any device because the data would be stored in the cloud. Individuals will also receive personalized advice on portfolio, shares and other financial products.

B2B customers benefit even more, as the digitization of finance translates into savings in administrative and infrastructure costs.

Partnering with new digital platforms will allow banks to catch up and provide customers with the elegant mobile experience that has become the norm in the digital age. This may cost a bit of investment, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.

Financial service providers need to decisively shift gears before they lose touch with their customers and fall behind in the digital age. These trends and technologies are set to usher in a new era of financial services, one that is more adept at serving mobile and digitally savvy customers. That does not mean, however, that banks and finance companies can do without their customer service lines and human agents.

To cultivate long-term, productive relationships with customers, you need to cover all the bases, from digital to non-digital touchpoints. Phone calls, live conversations, and customer meetings still have a high impact on overall CX, especially since these interactions involve human representatives of the company. Ultimately, digital experiences serve as continuities of the personal connection that financial companies establish with their customers.

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