Delivering a seamless customer experience has become increasingly important as banks seek more efficient ways to streamline service.
While nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population use digital banking services, many still reach for the phone when a complex issue arises. This challenges banks with how to manage this channel shift in a way that facilitates a smooth experience for customers. Exacerbating the issue is the ongoing expectation for banks to accomplish more with fewer resources; call centers continue to receive a surge in support calls while facing widespread staffing shortages. Banks may also expect to record increasingly thinner margins in the current economic climate.
So, how can banks ensure they are providing an effortless customer experience — on par with tech giants and major retailers — while increasing efficiencies? The answer can be found in uniting traditional phone service with digital engagements and strategically embracing conversational artificially intelligence, or AI.
Uniting Phone, Digital Engagements
Most institutions currently manage at least two disparate systems for customer service, which creates a notable disconnect between digital and phone interactions. This separation perpetuates inefficiencies and can create a fragmented customer experience. Customers expect every interaction with their bank to be personalized and seamless; it isn’t well received when they encounter the stark contrast between the bank’s phone and digital spheres.
To solve this pain point, banks can unite phone and digital engagements within a single customer engagement platform. Incorporating the traditional call center phone service into digital-first customer support can significantly decrease the complexity of managing various point solutions, while also reducing costs and staffing requirements. Plus, this type of consolidation can drives considerable efficiencies across routing, management and reporting for the bank.
Equally as important, this unification facilitates a more consistent, low-effort customer experience. After all, customers care about resolving their issue resolution, not what channel they’re using — they are simply seeking a favorable experience. This can also create a better employee experience: staff sees the same information no matter how a customer is engaging, enabling easier, more accurate personalization.
Incorporating Conversational AI
Incorporating automation into your bank’s customer service channels can increase efficiencies while improving the customer experience across both digital and phone communications. For example, companies and consumers continue to adopt conversational AI technology and virtual assistants that provide intelligent self-service options in both text and voice channels. These assistants offload work from contact center employees, so they can focus on solving more complex problems and participate in higher-value conversations. Virtual assistants can additionally shorten the resolution time for customers, simultaneously improving efficiency and customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
However, not all virtual assistants are created equal. Third-party tool kits and do-it-yourself solutions can deliver less-than-ideal results, which negates their value and even creates additional pain points in the customer experience. Compared to their more-generic counterparts, platforms that have been developed specifically for financial services can provide a quicker, more relevant way to deliver a convenient digital experience for customers across both virtual and human assistants.
Virtual assistants become especially beneficial when a bank uses them across a single customer engagement platform. Leveraging a combination of human and virtual assistants in one platform — including chatbots for digital engagements and intelligent virtual assistants optimized for phone and digital voice engagements — eliminates the need for banks to manage multiple solutions across different technologies.
While there tends to be an imagined dilemma between efficiencies and a better customer experience, banks can — and should — have both. Converging traditional phone support and digital interactions onto a single platform, while strategically incorporating conversational AI, allows banks to reduce costs and optimize resources while increasing consistency across customer interactions.