First it was the retail sector, and now Cyara co-founder and CEO Alok Kulkarni (pictured below) offers his insights into how financial institutions can improve their customer service out of sight.
Executives around the world continue to recognise that superior customer service yields greater business results, with a customer-centric approach moving higher on every organisation’s agenda.
With Customer Service Week having just been and gone, organisations should be thinking about how to place customers at the forefront of business strategy.
Many of Australia’s top organisations, especially financial institutions, struggle to improve their service in the eyes of their customers. It’s safe to say that at some point everyone has had a poor customer service experience. This encompasses everything from repeating a question multiple times due to being transferred between departments, experiencing user interface glitches, service staff not having sufficient information on hand, or getting lost in IVR menus.
Ultimately, when it comes to market share, losing the customer experience (CX) race can be detrimental for any business. Banks are learning hard and fast that they are becoming the new standard in customer service for other industries, and hires like ANZ’s chief design officer – tasked with uniting digital and innovation strategy – demonstrate positive strides towards placing the customer’s increasing digital needs at the core of major business decisions and strategies.
However, the rise of fintechs, cashless payment methods and even cybercrime are forcing financial service institutions to increasingly stay abreast of customer service standards, as threats, expectations, and competition rise each day.
Staying ahead of the curve and delivering consistently perfect customer service may seem impossible, but having the right technologies in place to protect and future-proof the financial services industry from the unpredictable is a ‘must-have’ first step.
Meeting customer expectations
With customer voices so powerful that one wrong move could alter mass perception of a business overnight, safeguarding an organisation to establish long-term loyalty and increase digital growth is a must.
The overall perception of an organisation’s customer service standards will be greatly improved by providing customer service teams with the right tools to pre-empt customer concerns, and ensuring contact centres are able to endure a peak in activity. For example, if a customer begins a conversation with a chatbot in the wake of an online banking system crash and the issue is not resolved, it is likely they will then call the support centre to seek further help. If support staff have easy access to each customer’s chatbot conversation history, they will be able to easily pick up where the chatbot left off, reassuring the customer and increasing their trust in the organisation.
Time-poor customers never want to feel like they’re interacting with an organisation for the first time. Information should be easily accessible so that repetition is kept at a minimum and interaction times are reduced. Not only does this improve the customer’s experience, it also reduces operational costs for the organisation.
Raising the bar
As the financial services industry continues to respond to the digital demands of consumers, innovation based on customer insights will define the winners from the losers. It is therefore critical for banks and financial services institutions to deliver on this personalisation promise to win the battle of providing the best CX.
Utilising key customer insights can make a big difference to CX – and ultimately to the profitability of the organisation. The right information, analysed in the right way, can ensure that a financial institution can provide the seamless service customers are begging for – at a lower cost. For example, Macquarie Bank recently announced it will be rolling out the Australian market’s first open banking platform, allowing customers to securely move data to fintech start-ups and other technology companies. ANZ has also responded to customer demands by rolling out voice identification technology earlier this month on the bank’s Grow by ANZ app, which has received high customer acceptance and success. As a result, the bank is looking at rolling this out across all its customer touchpoints.
As major banks look at automating their services at a fast clip, positive customer experience needs to be cohesive across all channels, with digital customer experiences seamlessly integrating with physical or voice channels. Yesterday’s demands – including flexibility, efficiency, and easy access for customers – have expanded to include the integration of banking activities across multiple channels. On top of this, customers demand personalised services, including recognition of the past, present, and future breadth of their relationship with their financial institution.
Going forward, banks need to focus on building improved customer service experiences through cutting out silos and providing customers with the right information, at the right time, through the right channels.