By Priya Iyer, Chairman, and CEO, Vee24
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic made personal and business banking from home essential, the number of online banking users had been steadily rising. Eight in every 10 consumers prefer banking digitally versus visiting a physical branch and, in 2019, the number of digital banking users was forecast to surpass 161 million in the United States. As the pandemic continues to disrupt the business world, many organizations have adapted operational models to optimize customer relationships and manage customer service resources more efficiently. Even online, customers are demanding the ability to get answers to their basic questions 24/7 and to engage with live agents quickly if they need assistance during normal business hours. Savvy financial institutions have been improving their digital engagement strategy, knowing many recent changes will be long term, if not permanent, as economies change what it means to be “open for business.”
Many banks that have seen success during this time have fully embraced live engagement solutions, making traditionally in-branch transactions readily available remotely, to better assist online customers and allowing them to get ahead of the competition and build stronger brand loyalty. Two things remain critically important: Customer engagement solutions need to provide the highest levels of security, regulatory compliance and continuity of service as these are now true enterprise solutions for financial institutions and they must be flexible enough to implement and optimize quickly to continuously enhance online customer journeys.
Live engagement solutions range from AI-driven, deep learning chatbots that provide 24/7 service to video chat, co-browsing, and co-form fill solutions that offer a more personalized banking experience across multiple channels and devices. Now more than ever, it’s critical that websites and mobile apps engage current and potential customers to provide convenient, accessible banking anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
This article highlights the full range of options that, used together, can raise the level of online customer experience to new heights.
Live Engagement Strategies for Online Banking Begin with Chatbots
With the vast majority of American banking customers using some form of online services, certain interactions are commonplace. Even people who prefer a teller to an ATM will commonly go to a financial institution’s website to check balances and pay bills. A significant number of customers go further, using a mobile app to do the same routine tasks as well as deposit checks. For these simple tasks as well as more complex use cases, both savvy and novice users sometimes need assistance. A customer engagement strategy begins with chatbots.
Chatbots can elevate the customer experience and prevent disconnects while banking online. Artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning integrated with knowledge repositories married with curated customer journeys elevate chatbot effectiveness, enabling these automated assistants to understand customer intent to address their needs. They can also provide seamless service moving a visitor from the chatbot to a live agent when appropriate. Other examples of elevated customer journeys with chatbots are:
- Directing a customer to a page they can’t find, such as where canceled checks are located
- Answering questions about how to apply for a mortgage or car loan
- Qualifying customers and setting up a video chat with a live advisor at the bank
- Processing a payment
Chatbots are quickly moving beyond facilitating the customer’s online experience, increasingly having a larger, more direct impact on business’ revenue. Brands with a superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue on average than competitors and 72 percent of consumers say a disconnected experience would make them take their business to a different brand.
While mobile and online banking is preferred by many customers, some are still hesitant to use it for a variety of reasons. By offering more robust, personal online services such as live video chat with screen sharing and co-browsing, banks can enhance customer service exponentially with real-time, efficient, and meaningful interactions with customers.
Next-Level Live Engagement Technologies Provide a Richer Customer Experience
A pre-pandemic survey showed that more consumers feel that a brick-and-mortar bank branch is no longer necessary versus those that think it still has value – for example when seeking financial planning advice or opening new accounts. Post COVID, consumer preference has only tipped further towards digital. The in-person banking experience has dramatically changed as branches have remained closed since earlier this year. Live engagement solutions including video chat, co-browsing, and co-form fill bring the face to face, in-brand experience online, easing anxious customers and allowing them to connect securely with a real banker for a richer assisted experience.
Live Video Chat Assistance
A live engagement platform offers one-to-one video chat support so that customers can feel secure handling their finances through a conversation. Video chat replicates an in- branch visit by allowing eye contact between customer and agent, while providing reassurance in a private conversation. During a live conversation, a representative can easily add in a banking product expert or the other joint account holder to the call within seconds, through multi-party engagements. If additional support is needed, the representative can also schedule appointments at a later time that is convenient to the customer.
Co-Browsing, Screen Sharing, and Co-Form Fill with Customers
From applying for a mortgage or applying for a business loan, customers inevitably have questions and need help navigating to appropriate pages and completing applicable forms. In the past, the only way to help customers with any major financial process was in person, as guiding customers over the phone left too much room for error. By using screen sharing technologies such as co-browsing and co-form fill, banks greatly reduce the margin of error in a financial process. By digitally filling out forms together, errors are identified and corrected instantaneously. And, secure co-browsing means that the customers private information is hidden even from the agent. Guiding customers digitally deepens a bank’s relationship with them, makes the process of filling out forms painless and secure, and helps financial services companies reduce risk, sales cycle time and drive revenue.
In addition to improving the quality of online customer support with more meaningful and personalized interactions, financial institutions are implementing online banking that is accessible across all channels, from any device, at any time. Chat platforms enable customers to reach a bank representative with just a click of a button – from any browser, on any device, and with no download required. A customer can receive support on their phone from any location and speak to their financial advisor from a laptop. Providing customers with this flexibility is a critical banking component as more of life is conducted remotely.
Digital Support and Sales via Chatbots and Live Engagement Will Keep Banks Thriving
Online and mobile banking technology will continue to improve over time with AI driving automation and omnichannel access. Financial institutions that advance their customer experience will be the most successful and will thrive as banking industry rapidly changes and consumers demand comprehensive remote solutions.
With over 25 years of diverse international experience in nearly every facet of software, Priya is a proven, high-growth entrepreneurial CEO with a leadership philosophy centered on engaging clients and employees to build industry leading SaaS software platforms and delivering exceptional customer and stakeholder value to achieve sustainable competitive differentiation.