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How banks can support their clients in digital channels: human assistance, self-service automation (such as an AI bot), and proactive response

Global overview

Every commonly adopted banking strategy incorporates digital transformation. It’s been like this for a long time, and it’s easy to understand why this is the case. Customers are ready to work in the digital environment to get their needs met more efficiently. They expect banks to think the same way. As a result, an increasing number of financial institutions are focusing on using technology to provide better services to their consumers. Consumers in the digital world, on the other hand, continue to seek assistance in achieving their objectives. Is it possible for banks to supply this support too?

Customers’ preferred channels dramatically shifted in 2020. As a result of the government’s pandemic limitations, customers had to transition to digital and mobile banking. Because physical access channels are limited, virtual customer service has become increasingly important.

Even though banks have long predicted clients will demand digital, the speed with which they have done so has astonished many. Often, financial institutions needed to shift from a product-focused to a customer-focused mindset seemingly overnight, and embracing an omnichannel communications strategy became a priority as well. The decision was an intelligent response to customers’ expectations, as they demand the same level of service across all channels. This choice, however, necessitates adding value not only to products but also to services.

Customers expect support in the digital world as much as they do through physical channels

While the use of branches was limited, digital banking became an essential point of contact for banks and customers.

New digital consumer behaviors such as internet shopping and banking arose due to the pandemic. As a result, a growing number of customers are now turning to digital channels as their primary – and often only – point of contact for customer service. According to Forrester, clients who used digital channels for the first time during the epidemic will continue to do so, leading to a 40% increase in digital interactions.¹

In 2020 banks recorded a sudden rise in users’ activities in digital channels. According to Capital Performance Group, the value of online banking increased by 10 to 30 percent, while electronic banking increased by 20 to 80 percent. As a result, we are currently seeing a decrease in the number of people visiting bank branches. However, even if the branches have lost their role as transaction centers, client assistance remains critical.

Indirectly, the growth has resulted in a significant increase in the number of customer-contact center interactions. As a result, they must evolve. The key to this transition was offering appropriate support to users while keeping the same level of experience expected from branch visits.

How banks can support their clients in digital channels – Customer Support Funnel

The Customer Support Funnel consists of three steps: human assistance, self-service automation (such as an AI bot), and proactive response. This combination gives clients a one-of-a-kind experience while seeking assistance. More importantly, while handling customer caseloads, this funnel effectively regulates traffic in the contact center and deploys human resources optimally.

How does it work?

  • Proactive – The first element of the service funnel is the ability to be proactive. The bank must predict the customers’ requirements, which is made possible via an in-depth analysis of previously reported issues. By creating products, the bank can use the experiences to design content on the bank’s website that will answer as many questions as possible. Why? Customers want to find answers to their questions on their own without having to contact customer service.
  • Self-service powered by AI – When the content on the bank’s website cannot answer the customer’s questions, the next element of the customer service funnel will be self-service steps. Such solutions include a FAQ on the website or the increasingly popular chatbot solutions. These tools must have many answers to the questions created based on an analysis of the customers’ contact center inquiries.
  • Human assistance – Some questions are too complex to be answered automatically, while others may relate to financial data. In this case, when self-service fails, human support is crucial. However, the key to success is that the contact center employee knows the context and history from automated conversations with clients before offering assistance. It is also essential to consider VIP clients who expect direct contact with an agent.

This approach ensures client affairs are always efficiently managed. Furthermore, as part of the service is transferred to supporting tools, it positively impacts customer service costs. Additionally, the concept benefits contact center personnel by reducing the quantity of repeating queries.

How digital conversation platforms can support customers in digital banking world

Modern communication platforms such as LiveBank support the transformation of a contact center into a center of excellence by offering:

  • Case-based communication: makes the customer the center of communication with full access to the history and context of the conversation. Allows management of customer cases and modeling of banking processes. Understanding customer cases in detail means you can be proactive.
  • Integrated omnichannel: Be available where customers want to contact their bank, provide a frictionless customer journey and support seamless switching between channels.
  • Optimization and automation: Reduce the costs related to customer service by providing work support tools like canned responses, a knowledge base, and a remote workspace. Also, integrate a chatbot and offer a unique customer experience.
  • Aggregation of new channels: Enhance customer service using digital channels and move freely between them, without breaking interactions, via chat, audio, video, or social media.
  • End-to-end processes support: Providing additional tools to increase the range of supported customer service processes – eKYC, online documents signatures, and file sharing.

This technology mix can answer the question, “how can we help customers when all bank branches disappear?” Sound unlikely? 2020 showed that such a scenario can happen and may happen again.

How to accelerate technology implementation? Can the cloud help?

When fast implementation is needed, a cloud-based solution often provides the quick transition that’s required. Enterprise concerns about the security, reliability, and scalability of cloud solutions are currently on the decline. According to McKinsey & Company, the migration to cloud technology has increased by a factor of 24. As shown in a Forrester report, moving services to the cloud is considered a top priority. For further information, see “The Three Customer Service Megatrends in 2021: Post-Pandemic Customer Service Excellence.”

LiveBank is a solution that uses the cloud to enable fast enterprise deployments while allowing flexibility to scale the platform horizontally (i.e., user numbers) and vertically (i.e., features and functionality) as needed.

In our view, 2021 will see the pandemic fueled innovation in the customer service tech stack continues to deliver benefits. Also, last year showed us that a fast solution implementation accelerates banks’ overall transition to fully digital customer service.

Article: Customer support in the digital banking world

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