by Kate Kompelien
Financial institutions are no strangers to intensifying market conditions. Even before 2020, banks and credit unions navigated massive disruptions around fintech innovation, compliance and regulation, generational change, and fraud crimes. When the pandemic rocked the globe, the already-constrained banking industry was forced to navigate one of the most impactful events of our time, creating new challenges and compounding old ones.
With 2020 in the rearview mirror, it’s important for financial institutions to understand the new landscape and gear up to tackle the latest set of challenges.
Here are a few challenges that are top of mind:
Fraud and cybercrime attacks are accelerating at an alarming rate
The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.2 million fraud reports from consumers in 2020. Some banks we’ve heard from have experienced as much as a 50% increase in YOY fraud losses from 2019 to 2020, elevating the need for fraud and data protection practices.
Our digital reality is here to stay
As a result of the pandemic, investments in digital accelerated seemingly overnight and many financial institutions refocused or restructured their digital strategies as a result. Fulfilling your customers’ needs and preferences to self-serve is paramount. Plus, as remote work seems to be moving from a temporary solution to a hybrid one, or in some cases even a permanent solution, new questions and challenges have surfaced like:
- How can you accurately monitor your customer experience quality with a decentralized workforce?
- How can you ensure data is protected while employees are working from home?
- Will distribution channels like call centers or branches need to be reimagined?
Driving business value despite current conditions
Banks are being tasked with finding opportunities to drive revenue, despite lower interest rates. All the while, you must develop strategies to remain competitive, attract and retain customers, and protect your brand. These are challenging tasks on their own. Add a global pandemic and a decentralized workforce to these issues, and they become even more daunting.
Where and how to invest in technology
It’s no secret that enabling your team with the best technology is more important than ever before. However, determining exactly how and where to onboard new technology investments and communication channels is challenging. Banks will need to invest without creating too much discourse for employees, complicating current processes, or stretching resources too thin. Additionally, any technology you bring on needs to communicate with your current tech stack, otherwise you’ll end up with siloed systems and inaccessible or confusing data.
Customer service pressure at an all-time high
Banks are seeing an overall increased customer service volume. The sheer number of customer interactions that you have coming in, either from your digital channels or through phone calls is causing a massive domino effect of challenges for staffing, scalability, fraud prevention, and fraud detection.
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How to Resolve the Challenges Your Bank is Facing
The good news is, not all is lost. The financial services industry has long been resilient, always keeping customers and members top of mind. You’ve already played a huge role in stabilizing the economy and pivoting under pressure. Now, how can you address and resolve current challenges, enhance the banking experience for your customers and drive customer loyalty?
It starts and ends with customer experience. You don’t have to take our word for it. Take this quote from Forrester’s 2020 US Banking Customer Experience Index as an example:
“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 there is huge financial upside for banks that transform their CX.”
Depending on your CX maturity, there are several things you can do to begin transforming your customer experience and solving your current set of challenges.
Double down on call centers
With most brick-and-mortar locations remaining closed, call centers have become key to delivering more humanized experiences to your customers. Ensure you are arming your contact agents with the right omni-channel technology, enabling them to easily handle interactions and responses from all channels of engagement. There’s also plenty of room to automate certain aspects of call center interactions to simplify processes for agents and callers. If you want to get more tips for improving your call center experience, check out our last blog in this series, How to Drive Customer Loyalty with Your Bank’s Contact Center.
Consider investing in AI and automation tools
As you identify opportunities to enhance your call center, consider adopting sophisticated authentication solutions to automate fraud detection. When you protect your institution and customers against fraud exposure, you drive customer trust and loyalty. Other automation tools like bots empowered by data can help you create more personalized customer interactions.
Integrate technology to drive seamless experiences
Now is the time to re-assess and re-invigorate servicing technology investments to address the accelerating demand for digital channels and self-service capabilities. By integrating platforms and technologies, you can get a comprehensive, unified picture of your current state and simultaneously identify future enhancement opportunities. While an integrated technology ecosystem may seem far out of reach, Avtex specializes in helping you get there. Not only is this a win for your customers, but it also creates a more efficient environment for your employees. With a unified system, your employees can access a single interface to manage different interactions and gain access to holistic data that helps them make more informed decisions. Don’t wait to invest in new and existing technology platforms and service channels - an integrated program will enable you to streamline processes and eliminate complexities, freeing you up to focus on your bottom line.
Infuse personalization into everything you do
Customer service that delivers more meaningful, valuable experiences through more personalized, human interactions will win every time. Personalized experiences will help you drive customer loyalty and ultimately, revenue. Determining where you have opportunities for personalization starts with getting a full understanding of your customers’ journey and fusing personalization along multiple touchpoints.
As you journey through your CX transformation, a major area of focus is ensuring a seamless, cohesive experience across all channels. Let’s explore how banks can do this.
Improving the omni-channel customer journey to maximize customer experience
With the abundance of exemplary experiences available today, customers now set a high bar for their expectations of your brand. Netflix, Amazon and UberEats are just a few examples of customer experience leaders who are setting the gold standard – and those same expectations carry over to your business. Successful brands know that they are not being compared to other brands in their industry of niche – every brand is being compared to the last, best experience a customer has had. Not only are these experience leaders making personalized recommendations based on their customers buying behaviors, they are also delivering cohesive, omni-channel experiences every step of the way.
An important distinction must be made between omni-channel and multi-channel. With a multi-channel strategy, each channel runs separately for a unique purpose, putting your brand at the center. In an omni-channel strategy, you integrate your channels and put your customer at the center of your universe. That means that whether your customer views your website, interacts with your bot, speaks with a live agent, or visits a branch, they will have a seamless, cohesive experience across all channels. In an omni-channel universe, a customer can move in and out of different channels doing business with you and you won’t lose sight of their actions, behaviors, or preferences. In a multi-channel universe, you can lose sight of that because even though you are doing business on multiple channels, they are often siloed.
Imagine calling your insurance company, only to provide the same details and story multiple times, first to the chat bot on the website, then on an intake form, and finally to three different call center agents as you get redirected to different departments. With an omni-channel communication strategy, these customer pain points disappear. Information about your customer is seamlessly maintained throughout the customer journey, empowering your agents to provide experiences that wow your customers.
Here are the first two steps to take on your path toward improving the omni-channel customer journey:
Know your customer
At the risk of sounding obvious, the first step to creating a more cohesive customer journey is understanding exactly who your customers are and what preferences they have. This goes beyond understanding basic demographics or segmenting your audience. It’s about gaining an understanding of customers at the individual level and putting their needs at the center of your strategy. It’s important to fully understand the paths your customers take to interact with your business. Journey mapping is an excellent way to begin to unravel this puzzle. When you effectively map your customer’s journey, you uncover individual experiences and help your team gain a better understanding of customer pain points along the way.
Analyze your data
Data is everywhere. But data for the sake of data won’t help you make decisions if you don’t actually take the time to analyze it. Getting a handle on your data will intrinsically help you know your customers better. To get the most out of your data, you’ll need to pool your data into a single, unified platform. Capture, manage and analyze this data to aid you in improving your overall customer experience. Creating strong data practices also builds the foundation for leveraging artificial intelligence and predictive interactions so you can modernize your CX further.
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Customer experience design and orchestration can help you address current and future state objectives
Put simply, financial institutions are juggling a lot. Covid-19 has brought forth a new set of challenges, customers are demanding more from you than ever before, and it’s hard to know where to turn. How do you manage to address current needs, while recalibrating to design a stronger future? Transforming your customer experience strategy will help you remain competitive, build trust with wary consumers, reduce losses from fraud and attrition, and drive growth through more targeted, meaningful interactions.
Avtex is here to help. We’re well equipped to help you address industry challenges and we’re experts in customer experience design and orchestration. We can help you journey through your CX transformation.
Customer Experience Design: Designing new experiences isn’t always easy, but our experts help give you the right methods and tools to help you deliver experiences that wow your customers. We’ll always encourage you to approach your CX challenges from a new perspective and explore innovative ideas and solutions.
Customer Experience Orchestration and Strategy: With Avtex, you don’t have to worry about implementing technology or maintaining support. We’ll do the heavy lifting for you. We are experts in implementing technology and strategies to bring CX design to life and help you deliver more impactful experiences.