COVID-19 has transformed your institution’s digital communication strategy into an immediate demand. However, many financial institutions still fail to meet customer-centric expectations. According to a recent Javelin report, most digital applications fail to deliver a single-channel experience.
As a result, only 43% of consumers expressed satisfaction in their ability to conveniently open accounts online. Perhaps more worrisome, only 43% were satisfied with their financial institution’s ability to help them select products digitally.
Current events notwithstanding, mobile and digital-first consumers are on the rise and expected to keep increasing. Clinching these customers hinges on conveniently meeting their servicing and consultative needs. Financial institutions that do not simplify customers’ ability to seek help, clarification or advice miss out on opportunities to prevent abandonment during the customer journey. They can also scare away prospective or current customers by seeming ill-prepared for a digital future.
To combat these negative perceptions, improve customer satisfaction and differentiate themselves from the competition, institutions should embrace a holistic digital communications strategy. To do so, they should deploy the following three-pronged approach to pique the interest and confidence of prospective and current customers.
Video Collaboration and Conference
Often, customers require complex, consultative discussions. These interactions can be conducted beyond the branch through digital channels. As video conferencing has become the new normal, institutions must be prepared for customer expectations to follow suit.
Video communication leverages the popularity of video conferencing for secure communication that also builds relationships. Since this service fits neatly into customer schedules from anywhere, it should be an essential leg of a holistic digital communication strategy.
Customer Benefits: Video collaboration offers face-to-face customer service from a distance, at the convenience of the customer. It also illustrates that the institution has embraced a digital interaction strategy that can handle changing times and unforeseen sudden demands. Therefore, video tends to be preferred and more effective than text.
- Co-Browsing shares the customer view with a banking representative, making it far simpler to walk through problems and reach solutions. Co-Browsing can also be made available through chat.
Banker Benefits: Video capabilities are more likely to build customer confidence and attract new people – especially the digital-first crowd. In addition to increased engagement, video conferencing helps limit overcrowding and traffic within branches.
- Social Connection can be built through video, as video empowers financial institutions to leverage the customer service that sets them apart. Communicating face-to-face allows for simple verbal and nonverbal interaction, which sets a digital communication strategy apart by also meeting social needs.
Chat Tools for Banks
Chat tools embedded into the digital banking experience or an institution’s website are another essential leg of digital interaction. They help institutions stay relevant by balancing speed and personalization for customers.
Live chat empowers bankers to efficiently assist multiple customers with quick text responses on a variety of platforms. It can also be implemented into the website to assist prospective customers and guide them to account opening.
Customer Benefits: From virtual visits to encrypted email with file attachments, customer communication becomes much quicker without branch visits or phone calls. Live chat is especially appealing to customers who want minimal interactions or to make financial decisions without traveling to a branch.
- Text-Based Chat offers quick messaging interactions between banker and customer – ideal for quick fixes.
Banker Benefits: Institutions enjoy chat features as a unified communications resource integrated alongside digital banking messaging. Rather than developing communications solutions across channels, effective chat crosses between platforms. That uniformity means quality control. With text-based chat, representatives can respond to multiple customers at once, thereby using time more efficiently than with phone calls or visits.
- Ready Responses can be incorporated into text-based chat for more immediate replies to common issues. While still sent from a human representative, these streamline the response process and reduce the length of support sessions.
A final, essential element of an effective digital communication strategy is optimizing your expert employees’ time while responding to user needs. Reflecting trends from other industries, automated chats do so while maximizing traffic and simplifying customer service.
Often called chatbots for their ability to automate responses and stand in for employees, automated chat systems suit the customer “always on” model. They are ideal for providing quick responses and solutions, even if that means connecting customers with live representatives.
Customer Benefits: Sophisticated chatbots can host a range of capabilities, depending upon implementation and needs. At a basic level, predesigned questions and answers embedded into an automated chat can help customers more easily navigate websites and digital banking platforms. A polite and helpful greeting can also lead to new or maintained accounts.
- 24/7 Support is one of the most significant benefits to incorporating automated chat, no matter how basic. Especially for quick fixes and questions, customers need not wait for hours of operation or depend on employee availability to meet their needs.
- AI-Based Recommendations can be incorporated into automated chat for more sophisticated customer-service. Much like popular AI virtual assistants, these call upon behavioral analytics to predict customer needs and point them in the right direction.
Banker Benefits: Automated chat systems ultimately save financial institutions time and money. In addition to assisting customers outside of branch hours, they shrink the number of customers that need a live representative. So, while the chatbot helps customers navigate simple problems, bankers can focus on the customers who have more complex needs. Automation of basic functions helps eliminate the need for additional staff members and extended hours.
- Predetermined Q and A features can be installed to resolve the most common customer questions. Ultimately, this dialogue tree assists customers while saving them time. If the customer still needs a representative, they receive a seamless transition from self-service to interacting with a banker, who also has a record of the customer’s questions and can more easily assist them.
Holistic Digital Interactions
Digital communication has accelerated and is unlikely to slow anytime soon. Naturally, a customer-centric approach that embraces these mutually beneficial tools to engage customers will stand out.
Our digital chat webinar showcases digital communication optimization using the tools above in one comprehensive solution. See for yourself how they can improve the customer experience and transform your digital communication strategy to meet modern demands.
Steve Kent is senior director, Digital Strategy, at CSI.