Optimizing the human-digital mix in customer service

The pandemic growth in digital self-service of banks and credit unions is almost certainly an irreversible trend, given the continuous improvement of technology to enable its adoption, the clear financial benefits and operations making investments, and the competitive need to meet consumers’ rising expectations for anytime, any banking area.

While using digital channels to deliver more products and solve more problems, BAI research conducted during the pandemic found that customers and members still want face-to-face interaction with bankers, and they still rely on call centers. From a customer service perspective, therefore, digital and human capabilities are highly demanded.

How banking institutions should view the emerging role of customer service and how they can move toward optimizing their human-virtual mix is ​​this month’s theme BAI Executive Report.

Our top article, from contributing writer Ed Lawler, examines the efforts of several institutions, from giant banks to medium-sized credit unions, to provide a personalized touch to their offer digital self-service to increase engagement, and then smoothly switch to a human assistant if needed.

“Digital will make commoditized activities and transactions easier,” the California -based credit union’s chief technology officer told Lawler. “But there has to be an elegant handoff to someone who is knowledgeable and caring.”

The diminishing ability for banks to differentiate their product range from their competitors increases the urgency of connecting with customers in a different way.

For many institutions, the key is an enhanced customer experience rooted in specialized services. As a high-ranking U.S. Bank executive put it to Lawler, “It can’t be transactional. It has to be connected to someone’s life if we hope to help customers navigate the financial complexities in their lives. “

Call center representatives, of course, play an important role in helping banks connect with their customers, but over the past two years, how and where they do their work has been in a state of change. Contributing writer Lauri Giesen focuses her article on hybrid models. For both in-office and work-from-home employees, these models are emerging as a long-term solution to increase worker satisfaction and reduce attrition.

Hybrid call centers can present challenges for both customer service representatives and their managers. For the first, there are fewer opportunities to consult with co -workers on annoying customer issues; for the latter, maintaining security can be more difficult; and for both sides, training programs can be more challenging. Giesen writes about how institutions are struggling with those challenges.

With the rise of digital banking, customers are already expecting speed and convenience when they conduct transactions. For many, the same expectations are true when they need to visit a branch. As a result, more banks and credit unions are offering customers the option to schedule an appointment.

I spoke with Matt Hertel from UKG, who conducted some studies to identify trends in appointment setting. It should probably come as no surprise that, since the pandemic, customers have enthusiastically embraced video chat as a way to meet with bankers.

Also in this month’s Executive Report:

Is your contact center measurable? Terri Panhans from Vericast wrote that banks and credit unions need to take advantage of the declining number of personal interactions with customers. In his view, a great way to do that is by focusing less on the volume and efficiency of the contact center call, and more on call quality and value.

The service now looks different as a difference in banking: Kelly Horn from Salesforce tells us that the accelerated adoption of digital banking during the pandemic changed customer expectations in significant ways. To be unique to the group in this emerging environment, he says, banking institutions need to provide omnichannel services proactively and review their data troves for meaningful insights.

Personalizing your digital channels is about empathy: Benoit Malherbe from Genesys emphasizes the importance of putting customers first, and it means knowing what they need, what they’re trying to achieve and how you can help them. The operative word is “empathy,” with the primary goal of connecting with customers on an emotional level.

Mapping your banking customer journey: Matt Lombardi and Anne Bakstad from ServiceNow have made the case for a customer journey map as the most effective way for banks and credit unions to keep pace with rapid change in customer preferences and habits. They cited research suggesting that companies with journey-mapping experience higher growth rates than those without it.

We hope you find value in this customer service -focused Executive Report. Feel free to email me to let me know what you think.

Terry Badger, CFA, is the managing editor at BAI.

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