by Kate Kompelien
In 2020, with the pandemic eliminating in-person service for their customers, many banks developed entirely digital experiences. However, according to Forrester’s 2020 US Banking Customer Experience Index, customer loyalty is more impacted by how customers feel about the experience than by the ease and effectiveness of the interaction.
This tells us two things:
- Though offering digital channels and services is incredibly important in today’s marketplace, this need is secondary to facilitating meaningful interactions with customers, no matter the channel.
- With most brick-and-mortar locations remaining closed, banks will need to leverage other channels to deliver meaningful, human interactions to customers.
Delivering experiences that exceed the expectations of your customers requires that your bank implement an intentional customer experience (CX) strategy, instead of simply trying to improve individual customer service interactions. The difference is this: building a successful customer experience strategy means considering how every interaction or service can and should feed into a more meaningful, valuable and personalized customer journey and experience across all channels and touchpoints. Customer service interactions are just one piece of the larger puzzle; to truly maximize their customer experience strategy, banks and credit unions should consider every touchpoint, whether on the front lines of customer service within their brick-and-mortar locations, or on the back end of their software and technology stack.
A meaningful CX strategy includes, but is not limited to:
- Designing customer journeys and processes that aim to reduce friction across all servicing and engagement channels – elevating the experience for your customers.
- Offering more diverse communication channels, like SMS and video, allowing customers to select their preferred method of engagement and starting every interaction on the right foot.
- Delivering a cohesive, frictionless omnichannel experience across all channels. Whether your customer comes through your website’s live chat and is directed to a live agent or sends a text and is directed to a voice call, the experience should be consistent and seamless across all channels.
- Collecting comprehensive customer data and understanding how to utilize that data to perform relevant, meaningful interactions and outreach with every customer, no matter the need or channel.
- Taking an iterative, agile approach to CX change management to drive immediate results where possible, while keeping a methodical pace when implementing more complex technologies or strategies.
- Consulting with an expert CX partner like Avtex around technology adoption and change management to ensure long-term, high-impact outcomes for your bank, employees and customers.
Implementing a comprehensive and intentional CX strategy involving all of these components will help your bank or credit union build trust with your consumers, develop loyalty, and drive growth through more targeted, meaningful interactions.
Transform your Contact Center into a CX Champion
Call volume has increased significantly since the pandemic began, with some banks reporting as much as a 200% increase in sustained call volume. Digital interactions with contact center agents - like live chats, emails, and social messaging - have also become much more popular as customers have moved away from in-person interactions. With many branches remaining closed, the contact center has taken the place of face-to-face interactions, and many experts say this shift is here to stay.
Banks that listen to the evolving needs of their customers and learn to successfully leverage their contact center to amplify CX, will win out over those that do not.
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Strategies to deliver high-value experiences through your contact center:
- Leverage cutting-edge tools and automated processes to simplify contact center interactions, maximize back-end technology, and simplify processes for agents and customers. For example, data analysis and automation, knowledge base solutions, and customer service automation tools.
- Present customers with a live agent when they have needs that cannot be addressed by chatbots or virtual agents. Digital solutions can do a great job of answering questions and resolving concerns up front, but banks must stay attuned to customer frustrations, and being unable to reach a representative when a bot can’t solve a problem can be a major pain point.
- Perform data research and customer listening exercises to understand and resolve areas of distress and eliminate friction within the customer journey and all-up experience.
- Adopt authentication and detection solutions to better protect your institution and customers against fraud exposure – building customer trust and developing lifelong loyalty.
- Move contact center operations to the cloud to increase efficiencies, empower adaptability to changing conditions, reduce resource needs and eliminate friction for customers and employees.
Enhance the Agent Experience
As Kurt Schroeder, Director of Customer Experience with Avtex, and Jamie Gomell, Senior Client Strategist with Avtex, described in their conversation with BAI, banks are witnessing simultaneous stresses on both customer and employee experiences. When their stakeholder groups are supported separately or unevenly, there will be problems. Excellent CX can only happen when the organizations also focus on making the most of their employee experience.
It is important to support, empower, and enable your contact center agents, to prevent staff from becoming overworked and feeling unhappy. This is especially important while agents continue to work remotely. The employee experience you provide is intrinsically linked to customer experience and must remain a core element of any customer experience strategy.
Foster a better agent experience for higher-value interactions with customers:
- Streamline technologies, systems and processes wherever possible to eliminate complexities and drive efficiency and productivity for staff.
- Empower agents with tools and information that feed customer information and interaction history to help them deliver accurate - even predictive – information and add meaning to each customer interaction.
- Provide self-service, on-demand capabilities like chatbots and AI virtual agents to address simpler customer requests and reduce live agent volume.
- Leverage a single platform to capture activity across all different channels to enable any individual contact center agent to more easily pick-up where the customer last left off.
- Provide a more efficient, less cumbersome support environment to your agents, so they are better able to deliver an informed, efficient experience to every customer. For example, you can give your agents a singular interface to deliver, manage and document relevant customer information.
- Communicate with staff about technology changes, supporting them with a thoughtful onboarding strategy that is paced for optimal learning, acceptance, and implementation.
Data from Forrester’s CX Index proves that when customers have a better experience, their intentions to stay with a brand longer, buy more from that brand and recommend that brand all increase. They are also more likely to forgive that brand’s missteps. This means that there is huge financial upside for banks that choose to prioritize the delivery of a meaningful, more human customer experience across all channels.
For over 45 years the customer experience experts at Avtex have been helping financial institutions deliver more impactful customer experiences that have resulted in sustained customer value, loyalty and business. Hear directly from these experts about how your bank can adopt these same strategies.