Strong digital strategy requires a human element within the banking industry
Robust digital tools provide the information and the means for customer service teams to offer a personalized experience with the right amount of human connection
Infusing digitalization and automation into operational strategy has been a focal point for the banking industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now as we step fully into an age of remote work, digital transformation within the industry has accelerated and customers’ demands and expectations for digital banking services have increased. While implementing digitalization through internal technology sounds straightforward enough, bringing it to the consumer-facing level involves more of a balancing act.
Digital banking platforms leverage tools ranging from chatbots and robotic process automation for AI-based services to end-to-end automated document management solutions. With this shift to digital tools, banks are tasked with reorienting their approach. Customer service challenges, priorities and needs have been redefined and banks must build customer service programs that excel in the new digital environment.
Consumer banking is an extremely personal and important service. It should come as no surprise that while speed and efficiency are desired in the customer interactions, trust and personalization are critically important as well. These latter traits can be achieved through the right combination of digital tools and a human touch.
Customer habits and preferences
The nature of banking demands a high level of personalization, especially given that few problems in the industry have a one-size-fits-all solution. As customer service requests increase across channels, the challenge for banks becomes scaling customer service operations to enable teams to meet this increased demand with personalized care.
This level of service starts with knowing your customer, which is a rapidly growing expectation as customers assume their habits and preferences are known. In order to meet this expectation, banks must be invested in gathering feedback and utilizing a customer relationship management tool to capture that information. It boils down to using customer insights to inform human interactions. By providing customer service teams with in-depth knowledge of customers’ past requests, needs and preferences, they are better equipped to offer tailored responses and solutions.
Get ahead of the game
A primary way digital tools directly help improve the customer experience is in their ability to monitor customers and anticipate their needs before they reach out. This proactive attention will help solve issues before they are flagged by customers as problems. For example, if a customer frequently visits the same website page for expanding a credit line, a proactive message from a representative offering to help them apply goes a long way toward making the customers feel personally cared for. Another example is a customer changing a home address. Flagging that change to a customer service team provides an opportunity to reach out with information about where the closest bank branch or ATM is located. Quick, relevant touchpoints like these build a foundation of customer trust and satisfaction.
Match communication preference
For proactive touchpoints to be identified, banks must be prepared to meet their customers across digital channels, including social media, phone calls, chatbots, messaging platforms and apps. By implementing an omni-channel customer service strategy, banks can target customers on the platforms they use most.
Meeting customers on the right channel ensures that every interaction begins on the best footing possible. If they switch from one platform to another, quickly pivoting to meet them on alternative channels is an opportunity to establish a unified experience. Customer service teams should provide consistent messaging and tone across channels and ensure that customers don’t have to repeat their information on each platform. Doing so creates a significantly more streamlined and cohesive customer experience.
Step in when it matters
Digital tools are cutting edge and a must-have in today’s world but they can’t fully replace the human element required for customer service. Chatbots and AI messaging tools are brilliantly efficient when it comes to handling easy requests and FAQs, subsequently freeing up customer service representatives’ time. However, it’s important that language analysis tools are able to flag customer service interactions that need a physical human to intervene with a personalized response. As customer conversations become more complicated or heated, a personalized human response is usually the best anecdote. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the phone repeatedly asking to speak to a representative.
An empathetic and empowered voice
Customer service handles emotionally charged requests and demands frequently. Training customer service representatives to respond with an empathetic voice is a crucial way to build trust in the bank as an organization. The goal should be to meet each request with a problem-solving approach embodied by providing a quick response, a clear solution and a transparent timeline for results.
Empowering customer service representatives to make decisions and provide solutions without jumping through internal hoops will not only allow faster service but also give the customer a sense that they are speaking with someone of authority. This direct communication reinforces customers’ trust in the customer service team and the bank as a whole.
With high expectations for digital customer experience, consumers weigh each interaction with their bank more heavily. Each touchpoint is an opportunity for a shaping moment of truth and brand advocacy, where the customer will walk away with a sense that they were heard, their problems were addressed, and their personal interests were considered. Robust digital tools provide the information and the means for customer service teams to offer a personalized experience with the right amount of human connection.
This article is by Oliver Carlsen, Regional CEO, Germany and Eastern Europe, and head of the banking practice of Majorel. It was originally published by BankBeat.biz