The landscape of retail banking is rapidly changing. Physical banks are closing and the age of virtual banking is here. It is a change brought on by upstart fintech firms, forced by the global pandemic, and demanded by consumers. It is causing banks and financial services firms to adapt to a whole new way to provide personalized services.
Consumers still want authentic relationships with their banks, a personal connection even as they prefer to connect digitally. Voice is a legacy service and chat bots a recent digital innovation, both allowing banks to provide session focused engagements. But, these services are not too effective in today’s asynchronous world. This is where conversational text messaging offers a solution that not only improves customer experience but also reduces costs and increases efficiencies.
In our second Meet the Moment LinkedIn LIVE event, TTEC vice presidents Kristen Hein and Brian Martis discussed the opportunity for banks and financial services firms to incorporate conversational messaging into their digital engagement tool kit to gain short-term and long-term benefits.
The shift to virtual banking
During the pandemic, consumers and businesses had to get more tech savvy. Neither wish to return to the old ways of just three years ago. Consumers prefer digital banking, said Martis, and this preference spans all generations. Messaging has become their preferred mode to engage with banks, he said.
Retail banks and financial services firms have adapted to consumers’ digital preferences, and as a response to pressure from fintech companies who led the financial industries drive online. Banks needed to be proactive and meet customers in the channels they were using, Martis said. Yet, they realized going online provided more opportunities than just fostering customer relationships, it offered greater efficiency and productivity.
One client, Martis recalled, realized such an improvement in productivity after adding conversational messaging into its CX strategy that it plans to use messaging for 50% of its global care by the end of 2023. According to Martis, this client sees not only better customer experience with reduced labor costs but also an improved experience for its employees.
Messaging is a dynamic channel
Most contact centers today are equipped to handle single session customer engagements through chat or voice channels. This requires consumers to be on their device and devote their time solely to this interaction. Chats feel like self-service, said Hein, messaging is more like a white-glove service, allowing banks to give a better experience so their customers don’t feel like they’re talking to a bot.
Being fixed to a conversation is not the way consumers want to interact with companies, said Martis, and it’s why messaging is becoming their channel of choice. With messaging, a consumer can start a conversation on their phone with their bank then step away for a few minutes or hours and come back and pick up the thread right where they left off. It’s a level of convenience that meets today’s asynchronous lifestyle.
The business side of messaging
It’s easy to understand why consumers are quickly adapting to conversational messaging as a preferred channel. But is that the only reason for banks incorporate this channel into their mix? Martis and Hein both agreed messaging is an ideal channel for companies and firms across all financial services industries.
Messaging offers an opportunity to improve employee efficiency and productivity while also improving employee experience. According to Martis, firms who have switched to messaging find their employees like working in the channel and realize a lower burnout rate, reduction in absenteeism, and attrition. Banks and firms also gain an average of 8-percent higher CSAT score than traditional live chat.
“The cost benefits switching voice into conversational messaging is the quickest, largest benefit that banking and financial firms will notice,” said Hein. Messaging allows banks and firms to scale operations and to cross-train and uptrain associates currently operating in voice, leveraging their knowledge and experience.
Martis admitted switching from chat and voice to messaging isn’t as simple as turning on lights (and computers). He said TTEC typically starts with small, pilot projects to bring messaging into a company’s overall channel mix. Throughout a 90-day run-time, he said TTEC continually tracks to see how well the channel is working, considering metric such as: closed conversations per labor hour and the difference in labor cost per interaction between voice and messaging. Though, Martis mused, sometimes the best and simplest indicator is the number of customers opting in to use the messaging channel.
Watch the complete, on-demand event here: How to deliver conversational banking with world-class messaging.