How many times have you called TDBank, Wells Fargo, or any other personal banking organization to retrieve your balance or resolve an issue with your account? Now, how many times have you been truly satisfied with your call? As an industry whose main purpose is to provide customer service, it is extremely important for financial institutions to remain ahead of the curve in their customer service technology implementations. The banking industry is one that engages with almost each and every one us, and its widespread reach undoubtedly brings an incredibly diverse customer base. With this diversity comes an influx of challenges that require technological solutions to meet the evolving demands of customers.
The Looming Threat of Security
In a world that revolves around the almighty dollar, you can be certain that customers will have concerns in letting a third party handle their money. Data security and encryption is crucial in ensuring the trust of customers, especially in matters of money. The challenge of maintaining consumer trust is also commonly emphasized in the discussion of live agents vs. integrated voice response technologies. Research has shown that elderly consumers, having grown up in a non-digital and traditional era, will always prefer a live agent over an IVR system because they do not feel secure making a complete transition with an automated system. Generation Y’s, however, having grown up in the digital era, feel right at home using advanced technology and many times prefer to complete their transactions with a computer because they find it to be faster and more efficient.
IVR solutions are necessary to increase agent productivity, decrease agent handling time, and cut down on mundane routine tasks. However, despite the importance of contact center technology implementations, it is important to note that complicated issues within the banking space will always require a live agent and that the agent role will only continue to expand.
IVR and Call-Back Manager and CTI. Oh My!
The three most common solutions implemented in the banking industry are IVR speech technology, CTI, and call-back managers. For example, imagine that an international bank is facing the challenge of aligning its global business and IT strategies in order to provide customers with high-quality and consistent customer service. This situation can be easily resolved through an IVR implementation that would help the bank consolidate their self-service infrastructure and applications internationally, and in turn improve their overall customer service.
Similarly, the implementation of a call-back manager can also assist banks in streamlining their operations. A call-back manager would allow callers the ability to request a call-back time and number, instead of waiting for an indefinite amount of time on the phone, again improving customer service and satisfaction overall.
The implementation of CTI (computer telephony integration) has been used to improve caller satisfaction in the banking industry. For example, when a platinum customer calls their credit card with an inquiry, they expect to be assisted immediately due to their status. However, without CTI, all platinum customers are required to enter their 16 digit account number every time they call. With CTI integration, agents are already familiar with the account information of platinum members before reaching the caller and can dive right into resolving the issue, lessening caller frustrations and improving handling time.
As technology solutions for the banking industry continue to grow, some of the big trends that will really begin to emerge are mobile, big data, and, of course, social media. Many websites are starting to include chat-now features, and the agents who handle these inquiries are trained specifically for this job. The same agent who is handling a phone call may not necessarily handle a chat request due to language and grammar requirements needed to respond effectively via text.
It is important that contact center solution providers for the industry are able to easily analyze metrics and provide analytical feedback to their customers. Let’s say a customer calls their bank to check their savings account balance one day, and the next day they call to check their balance again, but also have a general inquiry about their account. Big data can help contact center systems recognize their customers’ patterns based on past history and provide them with the information they need without being prompted to do so.
The financial sector is a very forward thinking industry in terms of technology. However, it’s often only the larger banks who adopt new innovations such as chat and social media because they can afford to take risks and try something new. Small and medium-sized businesses are still trying to figure out what these new trends mean for them and how they can incorporate them effectively.
David Baker is the vice president of sales and business development at Servion Global Solutions.