According to the recent global Customer Experience in Banking Survey, 68% of South African customers cited getting the same level of experience and service across all channels as a priority, reflecting a common preference for African nations who want to have their complex financial interactions made easier.
Your customers want their problem to be resolved on the first point of contact, and speaking directly with a customer service agent is viewed as least important. They don’t like to be kept waiting on hold or having their calls transferred between agents without being resolved. They especially dislike having to go into a branch to resolve a query that began online or over a voice call. These preferences are leading the demand for channel integration.
Since customers are shifting to online channels such as email, chat and social media – even more so with internet access being prioritised, it’s imperative that all channels be integrated to avoid the frustration of interaction interruption.
Voice is still the default contact option, but financial institutions are seeing the need to add more channels. When it comes to providing excellent customer experiences, interactions must be seamless, regardless of the channel used.
If you outsource your social media channels to a third-party marketing agency, or even if those conversations are left up to an internal marketing department, you could be losing an opportunity to improve your service. Queries, complaints and discussions that could help you to win or retain customers may never get to agents equipped to facilitate the interactions.
An omni-channel environment with the goal of a seamless approach to communication that seeks to provide the customer with an ordered, consistent experience whether the customer is communicating online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar branch can help you to deliver the kind of service excellence your customers have come to expect.
Channel integration brings all the touchpoints into one environment, facilitating agents in tracking the customer interaction journey. This environment sees information being updated in real time, limiting the amount of times a customer will have to repeat information.
Financial interactions may be complex in that they can cover a variety of requirements that may see the need for multiple agent involvement: in the case of an interaction moving from inquiry to purchase of a product, for example, identity verification may be required, and then a contract may need to be signed that takes several processes. Channel integration ensures that the interaction is a seamless journey.
A great place to start is with any interactions that are currently voice-based that could be simplified –instead of the customer being kept on hold, for example, allowing for a call-back option will reduce frustration. Similarly, routing calls based on known customer information (e.g. transferring credit card holders straight to the correct department), instead of asking customers to navigate lengthy menus, will provide a vastly improved experience.
Great customer experiences come from personalised service that says that you know who they are and what they want; in the financial environment, your customers need reliable, seamless service that reassures them they’ve made the right decision in supporting your business.
Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business services provider.