Banking on CX leadership?
The number of branch closures combined with increased automation as artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more embedded in every day contact has left the industry working out how to deliver differentiated, superior customer experiences.
McKinsey research found that the human touch is still important to bank customers in most markets revealing that only 13% of customers prefer doing everything remotely. 31% prefer branches or ATMs for all their needs because trust is low in banks and financial systems. 19% simply prefer using branches or ATMs for all their needs for a variety of other reasons.
The rest prefer a mix of digital banking and face-to-face interactions. Without doubt the industry is working hard to digitise many customer interactions but how can customer experience really deliver for banks today?
Emotion analytics enables you to treat individual customers differently, developing engagement that is personalised to each of their emotional as well as product needs. For example, the expected outcome of an enquiry may be to obtain a loan, but two customers with the same enquiry may have very different emotional needs. This means they will respond differently to the same treatment. For banks, the issue is about how to appear human in a highly automated world and empathic towards their customers to help build stronger relationships.
For instance, providing contact centre agents guidelines on how to connect with customers by looking at the intent of the request (e.g. taking out a loan), identifying a related action or service and then alerting customers to the opportunity. Another example may be taking the time to provide a special touch like a handwritten card. The key is to let customers know the company is listening to them and knows them well enough to offer services they can use, when they need them.
Allied Irish Banks (AIB) is a great example of a bank placing associates at the forefront of their branch transformation. Redesigned branches offer soft informal seating areas for customer discussions. Tablets enable staff to hold informed consultative meetings, whilst sharing a screen with the customer. If a more detailed discussion is needed with a specialist, customers can be introduced to an advisor via video conference, ensuring that the relevant specialist is available at all times.
On-board digital customers more effectively
According to a J.D. Power survey, digital-only banking customers were dissatisfied with three areas: communication and advice; products and fees; and new account opening.
Overcome those obstacles by helping customers understand the ins and outs of their digital banking services; assign associates to follow up on partially completed or abandoned activities like filling out online loan forms, allow customers to choose how they’d like to receive onboarding information (FAQ, live chat, voice, etc), ask customers if they are satisfied with the onboarding experience and give them the option to contact a representative if they select “no” or have further questions. In addition to the onboarding session, offer new customers a short review of what they purchased, how to use it, and provide details around accompanying products and services that might be helpful.
Blending talent and technology
Banks can combine the latest technologies in new, customer centric ways to provide better services. For example, instead of building a voice-enabled assistant with features similar to a website or app, what would enable a new way for banks to build and extend customer relationships? Many financial services organisations take this approach.
“It will be less about a website or a mobile app as a destination and more about being where our members are and integrating with the technology around them, such as IoT and virtual assistants,” said Melissa Ehresman, USAA’s AVP of bank digital experiences, in the tech blog Tearsheet.
USAA is not alone, HSBC flagship New York branch has Pepper, its humanoid robot banking assistant. Pepper complements the branch team and helps customers with basic questions, product tutorials and information, allowing associates to answer more complex queries.
In the UK, NatWest has been testing Cora, its “digital human” banking assistant. If the pilot is successful, the assistant could be used in branches to answer basic customer enquiries. Customers will also be able to use Cora at home on PCs and laptops, and eventually on mobiles. The assistant is intended to complement branch, telephone and online services, not replace them.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customers are able to use augmented reality (AR) in its mobile banking app to find the most convenient branch or ATM – in a live view of where they are. Directions are superimposed on a streetscape using the camera on a mobile device, a helpful tool to help customers in unfamiliar areas, towns and cities.
Bank of America is building on its people-less branch concept by rolling out small virtual centres, equipped with an ATM and video conferencing room for customers to talk to specialists in remote locations. An onsite digital ambassador helps to ease customers into the new concept. The centres are around a quarter of the size of a traditional outlet. To attract more digital-first customers, the bank is also leading with digital to test new markets before it opens a physical branch. Using digital channels, customers open accounts, apply for loans, mortgages and credit cards, all before a local branch opens its doors.
Understand which customer you are serving
Knowing which customer is in front of you is essential to understanding how to provide better service. Banks can now track individual preferences, including how a customer responds to marketing messages and behaves at different points in the customer journey. For example, the bank should know when a decrease in engagement is a warning sign, and when it’s an indication of customer satisfaction.
Creating a 360-degree assessment based on customer, employee, and market information can uncover a number of strategic issues needed to address transformation. A cultural change management programme designed to incentivise branch staff to deliver the right customer experience at each interaction can drive loyalty and increase sales.
Finally, create a roadmap for new initiatives. That way, only the initiatives with the strongest customer experience impact would be launched and more resources would be dedicated to ensuring that they would be executed well.
By Iain Banks, regional vice-president, international markets, TTEC