The financial services industry is undergoing massive disruption. The onslaught of industry regulations, changes in consumer behavior and demographics, and the emergence of new market entrants such as Mint.com, mPayy, and PayPal have dramatically altered how banks and other financial services companies interact with customers.
Fortunately for financial services leaders, the pace of technological advancements and the amount of customer data being generated is creating enormous opportunities for understanding and engaging with customers more effectively.
Here are 10 questions financial services leaders should ask themselves to determine whether they have the right mix of technologies in place to optimize the customer experience.
1. Are you able to identify customers whenever they reach out to you, regardless of the channel or channels they use? Financial services customers expect banks, brokerages, and insurance companies to know who they are and to communicate with them on a one-to-one level. After all, customers who have entrusted their savings and investments with a company have every right to be recognized and personally treated. Financial services companies can draw on the wealth of transactional and behavioral information that’s available about each customer to personalize the experience and foster trust which can strengthen loyalty and long-term customer value.
2. How old is your contact center routing platform? State-of-the-art contact center routing technologies can intelligently connect each customer to a specific associate or employee whose individual skills match the customer’s needs. This ensures that each customer receives relevant support based on their profiles, the channels used, the financial products they own, and other known attributes. Connecting customers to the right employees will improve the customer experience while optimizing operational efficiency.
3. Are you effectively serving your customers across all contact channels? Financial services customers don’t view themselves as omnichannel; they simply expect to receive consistent experiences across any and all of the channels they use to interact with a bank and other financial services companies. A cloud contact center platform enables financial services organizations to easily add new channel support capabilities on the fly while distributing associates to active channels as customer volumes dictate.
4. Are you arming your front-line employees with the right tools and information? Financial services customers expect companies to know who they are and the products they own. Front-line employees need effective tools and access to data to provide customers with relevant and timely support. This includes arming employees with real-time information about customers’ product ownership and channel interactions which can be used to provide appropriate support. Disparate systems make it extremely difficult for employees to know the full scope of each customer’s relationship with the organization and for staffers to deliver the type of personalized service that customers expect.
5. Are you able to quickly identify customer satisfaction issues through analytics? Customers don’t always respond to surveys following their interactions with financial services companies. As such, it’s important for financial firms to use speech, text, social, and other types of analytics tools to identify aspects of the customer experience that the organization can improve upon (e.g., new customer onboarding, problem resolution). Financial services companies that can rapidly identify and respond to customer satisfaction issues from across the full spectrum of the customer’s relationship can enhance the customer experience, strengthen satisfaction, and boost the bottom line.
6. Are you effectively resolving customer issues upon first contact? Customers have multiple contact options beyond voice calls: IVR, online self-service, chat, click-to-call, email, mobile, and more. Financial services customers who aren’t able to resolve their inquiries quickly and easily are likely to find a company that can better support them. As competition continues to heat up in the financial services industry, companies need to be able to determine how effectively they’re supporting customers and to distinguish their services from rivals. The use of predictive analytics can help decision-makers determine whether a customer is likely to call back as well as the reason for that repeat call. Meanwhile, customer service associates can prevent repeat calls by taking a holistic, proactive approach to customer support, improving FCR by solving current and likely future issues on the spot.
7. Do you have the ability to quickly react to real-time data in addressing issues when delivering customer experience (missing SLAs, understaffed against call volume, etc.)? Financial services companies that aren’t responsive to the needs and preferences of its customers run the risk of losing valuable customers to competitors. Real-time management and reporting tools enable decision-makers to immediately identify performance issues with customer support that can be acted on quickly. Developing a sense-and-respond type of environment will enable your organization to provide customers with prompt and consistent support and satisfactory experiences that strengthen loyalty.
8. Are your contact center managers able to respond quickly to disruptive customer experience events before they go viral? An irate banking customer posts an image of an overdraft fee to social media that goes viral. Will your contact center managers have that deer-in-the-headlights look about them or receive advanced warning about the post and be prepared to respond to it? Contact center analytics can help managers immediately identify customer support issues and respond to them quickly before they spiral out of control.
9. Are customers who interact with branch employees able to access the same expertise as those who call the contact center? Employees who interface directly with customers should have access to the same customer information that’s available to contact center associates. A next-generation customer experience solution can provide front-line employees with a complete view of customers’ histories as they interact with each other. Meanwhile, intelligent call routing can ensure that customer calls missed by a financial services firm’s branch office can be redirected to associates with the corresponding skills to provide relevant support.
10. Is your data protected and Dodd-Frank compliant? Although your organization may conduct regular security audits to protect customer data under the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, contact center, CRM, and other systems containing sensitive customer data may not necessarily be certified as Dodd-Frank compliant. The use of certified technologies confirms that record keeping with customer data is properly handled and regularly audited, ensuring consistent compliance with the regulation.
Financial services companies continue their efforts to regain customer trust following the fallout from the financial crisis of 2008. Companies that have the right customer experience technology in place are better positioned to meet customer expectations and provide the level of experiences customers demand.
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