Customer engagement is not a job for technology alone

As mobile phone use increases, businesses across many industries are feeling the pressure to accommodate consumer demands for instant information 24/7.

Bank customers expect to be able to communicate with their institution without traveling to a branch location or waiting on hold, and they expect to do so using any device. As a result,  multichannel support and interactive communication features – high-definition voice and video, web chat, secure file transfer, screen sharing and more – are becoming increasingly important for creating a personalized user experience.

Although technology is streamlining the way that consumers communicate with their banks, the option for human interaction remains quite important. Today, all of us are consuming digital services through self-serve channels with less in-person or human interaction. That works until it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, consumers expect solutions from the financial institutions that they do business with.

New interactive features, such as virtual appointments, are driving banking more deeply into consumers’ everyday lives and increasing the number of interactions that consumers have with their banks. And with video features available from any mobile device, branch representatives can do their jobs via a different medium.

This not only maintains the human interactions needed to keep the customer experience positive, but also enhances it with technical features like tone, voice inflection and facial expressions imbedded into the various communications methods. These are the types of human interactions that are often lost in online or mobile consumer-representative communications but, thanks to technological developments, can remain intact.

Modernize, but keep the power of choice

While new technology does, indeed, create great opportunities for a more modernized customer experience, certain challenges still exist with the rise of digital and mobile platforms. One challenge is that it’s often jarring for customers when transferring between online or mobile transactions to a conversation with a human in a physical channel.

Whether it be in person or on the phone, the banking industry has often attracted staff with strong listening skills and the ability to clearly communicate and understand human behavior. The only missing link has been the ability to deliver these skills securely across a variety of channels. There is no denying the importance of technology in today’s banking landscape. However, banks face the risk of delivering on their corporate strategy of building relationships with customers if they fail to maintain their humanity.

Virtual engagement, the ability to communicate with a bank representative in real time from any mobile device, is changing the face of banking by enabling consumers to tend to their banking and financial needs easily, be it on the go or from the comfort of their homes.

Chatbots also assist with improving this option, having become synonymous with enhanced customer experience. Consumers want the quickest, most convenient methods to solve a problem or complete a task, and chatbot technology is being used to meet these preferences. A prominent study of consumer banking trends found that two-thirds of those surveyed believe that chatbots would be able to assist them, and more than 40% would rather communicate with a chatbot than an agent.

The success of banking chatbots is often measured by how fast they can assist a customer in completing a task. Whether it’s managing money, answering common questions about online banking or starting an application for a car loan, a chatbot’s goal is to assist users with the least amount of steps. And all of this can be done from the mobile phone that fits in the palm of your hand.

As mobile banking technology continues to grow and advance, interactive virtual features will become more critical to its success and more useful in the daily lives of consumers. Mobile technology, specifically virtual engagement, allows people to connect and collaborate like never before — completely transforming how consumers perceive mobile banking. Yet, the banking industry must find a way to hang on to its humanity to offer today’s consumers a variety of options for communication.

Perry Price is co-founder and CEO of Revation Systems, which creates secure communication platforms for the banking and health care industries.