COVID-19 has impacted financial services on both the customer side and the service delivery side. Uncertainty around public health and the economy has increased financial stress on customers, millions of whom have lost jobs and are struggling to keep pace with their financial obligations.
What’s most important at times of accelerating change is organizational agility: the ability to redeploy people, technology and processes as needed and in a timely manner. When financial service providers are capable of such agility, they future-proof their customer experience and their employee experience.
Neither customers nor employees expect financial service providers to go back to some pre-COVID-19 “normalcy.” Savvy providers aren’t waiting around for answers, but are instead proactively addressing the “new normal,” where digital adoption and the need to reconfigure physical branches has accelerated, and where the workforce will be increasingly working from home.
If you’re not proactively meeting the evolving needs and circumstances of your customers and employees, the result will be disruption and churn.
Four steps to promote seamless CX and EX
A digital-first approach is paramount for financial service providers facing the double-whammy COVID-19 has imposed upon their customers and employees. How can you drive an effective, digital-first approach to delivering financial services? Here are four steps that can push your organization in the right direction:
Step 1: Centralize your knowledge base and make it accessible across channels
Financial service providers have vast amounts of intangible knowledge assets, such as FAQ answers, product and customer information and more. “Knowledge base management” is about organizing this relevant information into a centralized repository for customers and agents to access and utilize across service channels. Knowledge is power, especially in a crisis. A centralized knowledge base is a key success factor for your customers and service employees.
Step 2: Enable self-service tools to divert traffic or workloads from human service reps
Many customers seek out self-service options for quick interactions with companies, and because they’re available 24/7, these tools also empower customers to get answers outside regular business hours. Self-service tools, such as conversational chatbots, can handle simple, repetitive requests (like FAQs) and provide account information, which frees up human service representatives for higher-level and more complex tasks. Distributing traffic enables better outcomes for CX (quicker results, better service and higher satisfaction rates) and EX (reduced workload and more engaged, productive employees).
Step 3: Blend self-service tools and employees/reps across channels
Blending human reps and self-service tools optimizes workflow and enables each resource to do what it does best. If a self-service tool can’t deliver what the customer wants, then the issue is seamlessly and instantly escalated to a human rep, who receives any information needed to pick up where the self-service option left off. Chatbots can also function as “virtual assistants,” following along with the customer-to-rep escalation and continuing to provide support to the rep. This blended approach improves CX metrics and drives better business outcomes, as well as a better EX.
Step 4: Integrate self-service tools across all channels
Financial services must be delivered seamlessly and effectively across multiple service channels under an integrated “omnichannel strategy.” Customers see financial service providers as a unified entity and justifiably expect you to deliver service accordingly. Whether they access service via the branch, ATM, mobile app, online, call center or any other service channel, customers expect providers to know them, understand their needs, and meet their needs in a timely, personalized manner. They also expect consistency in messaging and answers across channels. When the CX is different across channels, customers are rightfully frustrated and may look elsewhere. Keep this omnichannel imperative in mind as customers continue moving to digital service channels.
COVID-19 is changing how customers interact with their banks and how employees work, both now and long into the future. Adjusting to these changes must be an ongoing process, involving your customers and employees, as well as your digital capabilities. The four steps described above will help you retain customers and employees as this uncertain time, where agility matters most.
Holly Hughes, BAI CMO, will share BAI’s latest banking channel research and host a conversation with Colleen Wilson, Vice President, Product at MANTL, on what the trends mean for financial services leaders....
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