By Craig Pumfrey, NICE Systems
Customers of financial services organisations have high expectations and a low tolerance of poor service. They want to interact and transact with their providers quickly and efficiently and at their convenience, whether this is on the telephone, web-site (self-service and live chat), mobile apps, email, SMS, IVR, or social media. However, simply providing access to multiple communication channels of communication isn’t enough to deliver the standard of customer experience that is demanded in such a competitive market.
Today, customers expect to be able to move seamlessly from one channel to the next and the organisation needs to be able to match their pace, and whenever possible get one step ahead. This is what has become commonly known in the industry as an omni-channel customer experience. In our latest survey measuring the channel preferences of customers, 74% of respondents reported challenges when switching from one channel to the next. Clearly there is work that needs to be done, and in order to create this seamless omni-channel experience, organisations need to make a cultural and technological shift.
Culturally, organisations need to stop trying to manage and measure customer engagement as a linear series of isolated transactions. It is about accompanying the customer on a journey, and this may take place in one interaction via a single communication channel or, as our latest research suggests, across an average of more than five channels. From a technology standpoint, financial service providers have traditionally been amongst the earliest to offer new customer contact channels. Now is the time to take the lead and break down the silos of data and begin joining the dots between them, mapping and tracking the individual journey of each customer. Here is an example of how getting it right can deliver an exceptional omni-channel customer experience.
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Tom is 28-year old and uses his iPhone for the majority of his online banking needs. He sometimes visits the branch, but mostly uses the website and mobile app to check his balance and make payments. On this occasion he tries to set up a new payee for a bill but is having problems using the app. He is about to give up and call the contact centre, but because the bank is using customer engagement analytics to monitor all the interactions of a customer regardless of channel, it has spotted that Tom is having an issue and makes a pre-emptive move, sending him an invitation to speak directly to live representative. He accepts and is automatically routed to an agent who has his customer details already available to them on screen.
Tom prefers to assist himself (self-service) as he doesn’t have to wait in a queue to speak with an agent, so he is hugely is impressed when he isn’t kept on-hold. Another reason he doesn’t like to call is the need to go through the cumbersome security process. Authentication typically accounts for 25% of time spent on a call.
However, in this instance a real-time authentication solution was being used and his voice is automatically matched with his unique ‘voiceprint’ using voice biometrics technology. Tom is authenticated in less than 15 seconds, during which he has been addressing his issue with the agent – and not providing answers to questions, like his mother’s maiden name. The agent, on his side, also has the benefit of real-time guidance to assist in resolving the problem without the need to escalate the call, or make a call back. What more, the agent is able to explain to Tom what he was doing wrong, so he does not have the same issue again. Whilst Tom is on the call, the agent also notices that he recently opened a saving account in a branch, but could now get a better interest and offers to switch him to the better deal. With the call completed, Tom is invited to provide feedback via an SMS to his iPhone about his experience, which he gladly gives.
In this example, the organisation recognises that rather than providing multiple service channels and waiting for the customer to initiate outreach, by tracking their interaction journey it is possible to pre-empt problems that customer are facing and then intervene at the right time to offer the right level of assistance. Furthermore, as the organisation has a Voice of the Customer solution to monitor all interactions taking place across all channels, it was also able to recognise that Tom’s issue wasn’t an isolated incident and as a result changed the existing process on the mobile app to make it easier for all customers to use.
It has never been easier for a consumer to move from one financial services provider to another, so don’t make it easier for your customers to switch provider than it is to switch between channels. Consumers may be more demanding than ever, but it is also true that there has never been a better time to provide consistently an exceptional customer experience to every customer along every journey.