15 Mar Large Banks Can Capitalize on Unified Conversation
Banking and financial services enterprises pride themselves on understanding their customers, and they leverage massive customer information chains based on appointments, deposit and employment data, financial products used, endless automated analysis and more to do so. This makes banks foremost among enterprises that deploy analytical solutions to get the most out of customer relationships, while the prevalence of online banking also shows a steady willingness to adopt new digital solutions that improve operational efficiency.
However, with all the intelligence they put into automating their customers’ activities and the offers they make them, many banks still lag behind in integrating the physical and digital reality their customers confront when relating to them. Bank representatives are still key to putting a human face on an industry that still needs one more than ever before, and merging their tangible presence with digital interactions is crucial for any enterprise to keep up with consumers in an increasingly “omnichannel” environment.
Whether through local branches or centralized customer service centers, digital engagement tools like Online Scheduling, Click-to-Call, Live Chat and more can provide the interactions customers expect, and blend seamlessly with the traditional customer experience most banks offer. Furthermore, unified engagement platforms that offer these also enable enterprises to seamlessly manage integrations, data and technical issues, so no new dollar is ever lost in transitioning elsewhere or between single-point solutions.
Being Your Customer’s Better Half
As an enterprise, your bank wants to realize every dollar of potential revenue, all while not pushing customers beyond things like their credit carrying capacity or mis-evaluating their comfort level with their current slate of investments and financial products. These are the kinds of abilities that only a bank’s representative can evaluate in-person, but in a digital world they need additional tools to get those hard-to-obtain, in-person meetings.
Beyond the services your branch representatives can perform best, your customer service centers need to be part of the same unified relationship structure. Your clients want to reach out over the internet and be presented with convenient options over the phone. You then need platforms that can help you maximize both the time and training you’ve invested into your operators while also enabling higher efficiency in the way you understand an individual customer’s issues.
Combining these issues, you need to understand the front-to-back expectations customers now have when dealing with a major retail bank. According to Victor Dodig, President and CEO of CIBC, ignoring digital disruptors can come “at your [own] peril. You try to understand everything from a client point-of-view and because we know clients are using multiple channels, you need to understand their touch points as you build relationships with them.” So, before understanding how to best integrate these touch points, it’s crucial to understand what your customers perceive in relating to your retail bank.
Understanding Where Your Customer is Coming From
You know that customers are coming to expect digital solutions, not only because they view them as more useful and efficient, but also because mobile devices now dominate the way they approach their lives. This applies to young and up-and-coming consumers most of all, as a recent Pew Study shows that “fully 93% of 18-29 year-old smartphone use their phone to avoid being bored.” This represents otherwise valuable time for entertainment and personal chores that every type of business needs to capitalize on, but somewhere banks can particularly excel.
Now, while mobile devices may seem more engrossing to an “easily distracted” younger generation, 47% of young smartphone owners also “use their phone to avoid interacting with the people around them”. This percentage itself is only three times larger than the oldest cohort of smartphone users. As it stands, it would seem that if you want to get the attention of consumers, and young consumers most of all, you have to approach them through their connected devices – anything else simply won’t do.
This is a fundamental reconception of how banking has been done for most of the last century, and that’s why PriceWaterhouseCooper’s Banking 2020 survey indicated that, worldwide, the most critical strategy banks can implement is a “customer-centric business model”, while Ernst & Young stated in their 2014 Global Consumer Banking Survey that Omnichannel experience is the first priority of any retail bank in simplifying the services they offer their clients.
EY also confirms experience as the driver of customer relationships with their banks. “Experience with financial services providers” is the highest-ranking reason for customers to close or open an account/service with a bank, at 33% and 41% respectively. So, in a digitally dominated environment, you need responsive digital tools that fundamentally enhance your accessibility, as well as the quality of experience you offer your customers.
Click-to-Call, Live Chat and Online Scheduling are Solutions You Can “Bank” On
Within the digital omnichannel environment consumers love to navigate daily, fully 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call to connect with businesses they want to shop at, and 61% found it Extremely or Very Important in their purchasing decisions. 63% of consumers report they are more likely to return to a website that offers Live Chat, while 44% report that being able to ask a live person questions before a purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.What’s more, 62% of consumers report being more likely to repeat purchase because of Live Chat, and 38% report they had made a purchase as a consequence of a Live Chat.
Locally, 61% of consumers have come to either expect or appreciate the ability to book an appointment online, and scheduling can form a link that unifies the always-on, omnichannel experience your customers are looking for while boasting a bevy of direct value-adds. 24/7 booking can bring you as many as 40% more appointments, which means loads of new potential revenue, while automated reminders and notifications (through SMS or E-mail) can reduce no-shows by as much as 80%. That latter benefit adds to the tremendous power Online Scheduling brings to bear on operational efficiency, while at its base it saves as much as 75% the time previously spent managing appointments.
These benefits appeal to any business, but what should enterprise and retail banking leaders consider when they implement them? Not only their tangible benefits, but also whether they’re implementing engagement platforms that offer front-to-back versions of these services, offering purchasers and executives the one-stop-shopping they need to deliver value to shareholders, while also giving project managers the fungibility and flexibility they need to adapt to any situation. Furthermore, being able to take full ownership of the data these tools produce is also crucial to choosing the right partner, as well as the chance to seamlessly integrate within your existing enterprise environment.
Owning Your Customer Data
Purchasers and sales executives for banking institutions also understand that there is a need to not only generate more interactions with customers, but also to efficiently implement and collect information off the tools that generate those interactions. In reporting “areas of significant effort over the next 5 years” to PwC, “enhancing customer data collection” came in first place with 54% of banks planning to follow through on such initiatives.
The fact is, competitors within the banking sector are already implementing digital tools to enhance experience, so to ensure they get the most out of their investment, banking executives need to deploy end-to-end solutions that can integrate seamlessly within existing software environments. There are plenty of great vendors for single-point Live Chat, Click-to-Call, Online Scheduling and more, however with each new product comes a new architecture, a new vendor, a new integration framework and another new neck to choke whenever something goes wrong. A truly grand banking enterprise needs something that scales.
Oracle and SAP are some of the legacy names in enterprise software, and have in recent years taken great interest to develop customer engagement solutions that drive interactions and manage data. However, most of them are cobbled-together and incomplete forms of strategic acquisitions, so once interactions are registered and recorded, it can still be difficult (if not impossible) for enterprises to even figure out whether their information is configurable, or even where it is going. With a customer engagement platform designed to put the customer first, system architecture becomes simpler than ever, allowing for easy deployment no matter the intended purpose.
Creating Experiences Your Customers Feed Off
According to McKinsey & Company’s Future of US Retail Banking report, “the more that customers use digital channels, the more they want human interaction.” A mix of both is key to driving the unified conversation customers are looking for, while that very same conversation is an opportunity to not only capitalize on enhancing customer experience in a competitive industry, but also in enabling increasingly centralized data management.
Interactions are golden in retail banking today – consumers are both more informed and suspicious of the marketing and advertising they receive, so the ability to speak to representatives or customer service agents is one of the few opportunities banks have to create positive, identity-driven interactions that secure new clients and promise greater loyalty in the long term. When an enterprise can also be assured that the data those interactions generate is easily manageable and leveragable, what more can you ask for?