The banking sector has rebounded since the Great Recession—its reputation, not so much. Consumer trust in banks is near an all-time low. But banks are acting to restore their standing and improve the way they do business. And they’re taking advantage of unified communication technology (UC) to do it.
With UC tools such as high-definition video conferencing, mobile messaging and presence technology, banks now personalize their relationships with customers and connect with them on platforms of their choosing, whether online, mobile, on the phone or in person. This not only increases customer satisfaction but boosts banks’ bottom line.
Here are four eye-opening ways banks can use UC tools to advance their business and gain a competitive edge.
1. Customer delight. Like all businesses, banks want to increase sales. They also want to do more with less. UC can help them do both. Imagine this scenario: A customer walks into a small regional bank and asks to speak with the mortgage expert. The bank manager responds that the mortgage broker is working at a different branch today and will back on Wednesday. So the customer walks out, never to return. That’s called leakage—and it’s not good.
But what if the manager invites that same customer into a video conference room and tells her the mortgage broker will be available in five minutes? The customer is interested. After a few minutes, the manager launches a video or web conference between the customer and the mortgage expert, who’s currently at the other branch. It’s a secure connection, so the broker can share documents with the customer and start an application. This is a relatively easy way for banks to provide customers a joyful experience and drive additional revenue.
2. Compliance done right. Financial institutions are heavily regulated and must comply with a variety of laws and requirements to remain insured. For instance, U.S. banks have to record every one of their transactions. Every single one. If they don’t, they could get hit with significant fines or even the loss of their license.
That’s why banks and financial services companies spend millions of dollars on technology such as call recording systems for compliance. This technology enables banks to record and safely store appropriate calls. But questions often linger: “Did I make the right recording? Did I record all the various participants in the call? Is the recording clearly audible?” That’s where call recording assurance comes into play, to ensure compliance and mitigate risk.
UC technology can help. If a questionable recording surfaces, you’ll want an immediate alert. The UC system can automatically email or instant message key people to flag the problem so they can take action. And UC can go step further. The system can automatically create a shared workspace and send out invites to an on-demand web conferencing session. The result is that all critical decision makers can gather instantly and work to resolve the issue.
3. Millennial appeal. Banks are nervous because they think millennial customers are finicky and won’t stick around. But in reality, millennials are the demographic most loyal to their banks. A November 2016 study conducted by research firm Ipsos found that 77 percent of millennials prefer to have all their financial products and credit cards at the same bank. That number tumbles to 60 percent for gen-Xers and just 55 percent for baby boomers. So the most tech-savvy generation ranks as most likely to remain faithful to banks.
But here’s the rub. Millennials want their banks to be more digitally social. They don’t want to pick up the phone and call a banker. They want to IM their mortgage broker. They want their banking site to feel like a social forum where they can chat with other customers about a particular service; where they can watch an on-demand video to learn about a new product; where they access a subject-matter expert in real time via web video. Banks that don’t leverage UC cut off communication channels with their current and future customers.
4. Speed that’s ideal. The banking environment is ever changing. Banks constantly introduce new products and deal with new regulatory requirements. Keeping their teams up to speed requires a lot of training and education. In the past, banks would deploy a small army of trainers who traveled from branch to branch. But this approach is expensive and time-consuming.
By contrast, imagine gathering employees in a video conference room at lunchtime or after work to conduct a remote training session. You record the session so people can review it on demand. You also cut your training cycle time and quickly get people up to speed on new products and services. As a result, your bank gets to market faster—and gets a jump on the competition.
Putting it all together: See you soon, UC
The reality is that banking has moved away from the branch. People deposit their checks via their mobile phones, often in less time than if they stood at the front of the teller line. They transfer money over the internet. Banks slow to adopt new communications technologies risk getting left behind. With so much revenue and transaction volume moving online and to mobile, banks need to create a more social, collaborative and customer-friendly environment to retain their client base. That’s why UC could just as well stand for Unequaled Course.
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Dave Murphy is the global UC alliance director at IR.