by Kate Kompelien
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many financial institutions shifted to an entirely digital service operation to circumvent the removal of face-to-face interaction opportunities. Though offering digital channels and services is incredibly important in today’s marketplace, this need is secondary to facilitating meaningful interactions with account holders.
According to Forrester’s 2020 US Banking Customer Experience Index, consumers' feelings about an experience are a bigger driver of loyalty than the ease and effectiveness of the experience. Thus, financial institutions will need to adopt a strategy for delivering meaningful, human interactions across every channel.
Delivering high-value interaction experiences requires that your institution implement an intentional experience (CX) strategy, instead of simply trying to improve individual, isolated service interactions. The difference is this: building a successful CX strategy means considering how every interaction or service can and should feed into a more meaningful, valuable, and personalized experience across all channels and touchpoints in the journey. Service interactions are just one piece of the larger puzzle; to truly maximize the CX strategy, banks and credit unions should consider every touchpoint, whether at brick-and-mortar locations or via digital channels.
A meaningful CX strategy includes, but is not limited to:
- Designing journeys and processes that aim to reduce friction across all servicing and engagement channels – elevating the experience for your account holders.
- Offering more diverse communication channels, like SMS and video, allowing individuals 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 account holder 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 account holder data and understanding how to utilize that data to perform relevant, meaningful interactions and outreach, no matter the individual, 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 institution, employees, and account holders.
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 financial institutions 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 with the shift 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.
Financial institutions that listen to the evolving needs of their consumers and effectively leverage their contact center to address those needs and 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 account holders. For example, data analysis and automation, knowledge base solutions, and service automation tools.
- Present a live agent when needs 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 and credit unions must stay attuned to account holder 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 account holder listening exercises to understand and resolve areas of distress and eliminate friction within the interaction journey and all-up experience.
- Adopt authentication and detection solutions to better protect your institution and account holders against fraud exposure – building 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 account holders 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, financial institutions are witnessing simultaneous stresses on both account holder 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 the interaction experience and must remain a core element of any CX strategy.
Foster a better agent experience for higher-value interactions with account holders:
- Streamline technologies, systems and processes wherever possible to eliminate complexities and drive efficiency and productivity for staff.
- Empower agents with tools that feed account holder information and interaction history to help them deliver accurate - even predictive – information and add meaning to each interaction.
- Provide self-service, on-demand capabilities like chatbots and AI virtual agents to address simpler 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 account holder 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 individual. For example, you can give your agents a singular interface to deliver, manage, and document relevant account holder 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 individuals 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 a brand’s missteps. This means that there is huge financial upside for banks and credit unions that choose to prioritize the delivery of a meaningful, more human experience across all channels.
For over 45 years, the CX experts at Avtex have been helping financial institutions deliver more impactful experiences that have resulted in sustained consumer value, loyalty, and business. Hear directly from these experts about how your institution can adopt these same strategies.