4 Tips for How Financial Service Providers Can Improve Customers’ Experience and Satisfaction

09-07-2017    For better or worse, perception is reality. Despite instituting more and more tech advances over the years for enhanced customer autonomy, banks and other financial institutions would benefit from delivering a more robust customer experience that many say isn’t currently hitting the mark, according to a recent Protiviti survey. In particular, 96 percent of survey respondents say their financial institution is meeting their customer service expectations, but only 36 percent say their banks exceed them.  Meeting your needs means that the financial institution holds and doesn’t lose their money.  Great comfort, that.

Meantime, among those whose incomes exceed $200,000 — this earnings level is considered a key target market — just 30 percent feel their customer service expectations are being met.  Conceded, that’s twice as many people as believe Congress is doing it’s job on an apples to apples percentage comparison, but that’s a hard pill to swallow for many consumers and financial institutions alike. Because in an economy where 97 percent of consumers say service is a key differentiator affecting whether they’ll remain loyal to a company, delivering merely “adequate customer service” is no longer enough to stay competitive.  But… what is “adequate service,” anyway, and is that enough to keep everyone happy? Nope. Not even close.

Here are four tips on how retail bankers, mortgage lenders, brokers and insurance agencies can improve their service to keep up with changing customer demands.

1. Adopt an Omni-Digital Strategy

For the past few years, financial institutions have adopted an omnichannel strategy to meet the demands of customers wanting to reach support reps across multiple channels, digital or otherwise. But this approach will soon need to be amended to include an omni-digital strategy, which caters to a growing percentage of consumers only willing to engage with financial institutions through a digital means.

By 2020, 68 percent of banking members are expected to be omni-digital consumers, a recent CGN Research & Advisory Group study found. CGN also concluded that half of all consumers would consider banking with tech companies like PayPal and Apple if they started offering more comprehensive financial services.

Ultimately, for banks and other financial institutions to compete with the PayPals and Apples of the world, they must look toward reinventing the wheel by developing an omni-digital business model that prioritizes delivering exemplary customer experience for tech-minded customers.

2. Remove Barriers to Digital Customer Acquisition

It could take some additional time and resources, but a fundamental step toward implementing an omni-digital strategy includes removing barriers against companies trying to acquire more customers who prefer a digitized experience.

A study by Digital Banking Report found that most banks and financial institutions will not allow customers to open a new account entirely online or through use of a mobile device. While most banking institutions require on-site identification verification, this step (sensible or otherwise) risks turning away potential online customers.

Meantime, research by Adobe indicates 39 percent of Millennials are willing to consider switching financial institutions due to the quality — or lack thereof — of its mobile app. Offering smartphone apps that make it easier for users to open accounts and verify their identities can mean the difference between acquiring a new customer or losing them to a competitor.

3. Add Value by Offering Smart, Data-Driven Advice

To meet the needs of digital customers, financial institutions must increasingly become so-called advice providers, an Accenture study found. Customers who begin using digital-based financial services desire more services available in digital form, including financial planning and guidance.

Meantime, 48 percent of banking customers prefer conducting online research when they’re trying to obtain better offers and rates. With that in mind, financial institutions that use data to provide their customers with advice based on their needs can dramatically improve the quality of their overall customer experience.

4. Digitize Your Call Center

In order to meet the needs of omni-digital customers, financial institutions need to equip their customer service teams with a set of digital tools to accomplish this goal. One best practice is to adopt one of the many cloud-based call center management platforms on the market, including products sold by Aspect.

Aspect’s Workforce Management platform is modeled after some of the better user interface practices developed by companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google. It provides customer service managers with a user-friendly graphical user interface that allows them to adjust the schedules of individual employees based on anticipated workloads.

By extrapolating historical data, Aspect is able to estimate how many customer service inquiries can be fielded through voice, chat, email, social media or other service channels. Managers can then determine how many representatives should be assigned to each channel in order to keep up with customer service demand. Ultimately, this helps call centers improve response time and reduce wait time, while boosting customer satisfaction in the process.

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