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Tara Kelly
Tara Kelly
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When a Human Voice Is What Your Customers Must Hear

Three cases when a text alert or email just won't cut it.

With new data breaches coming to light each week, like the very recent JPMorgan Chase compromise that affected more than 83 million households and businesses, customers are more anxious about protecting themselves than ever before. However, common communication tools such as email and text are often ignored, and personal calls to individual customers are impossible when breaches leave millions vulnerable.

[For more on the JPMorgan breach, check out: What Banks Need To Do After the JPMorgan Breach.]

What’s more, today’s customer can be hard to reach, and even harder to engage. They are constantly mobile in a fully connected world with messages bombarding them at every turn. For this reason, many financial institutions, from major banks to smaller organizations, are using personalized human voice technology to deliver critical information quickly, clearly, affordably, and with great impact.

Human voice by nature carries qualities that can’t be matched by written communication, no matter what the form. It can convey the tone, subtle inflection, and emotion of everything from danger to delight. It can even relay and reinforce the sentiment of a brand promise that customers are familiar with experiencing in other channels.

By leveraging the power of the human voice within a uniquely personalized message, a high level of trust, credibility, and validity can be created, boosting attention spans and response rates. The resulting dynamic audio interaction with the customer not only goes a long way toward communicating effectively, but also building brand relationships and loyalty immediately and in the future.

Precisely when should a financial institution turn to voice technology over other forms of communication? Here are three instances:

1. When the message is highly time-sensitive. Texting is immediate, however customers often recognize texts as a facet of their personal lives, and therefore may not be as attentive to them during work hours. Voice technology is more pervasive and demanding in the mobile customer’s connected life. It is much more likely to reach them with highly time-sensitive information -- like an urgent fraud alert notice -- especially if it is delivered in a contextually appropriate way and used in conjunction with other communication channels.

2. When proof-positive is required that customers have received the message. Emails must be clicked on for proof of receipt. Texts provide no such proof of viewing and can even get delayed or lost. Automated voice technology allows for an all-important phone interaction with a customer, from a “please say ‘yes’” confirmation to the ability to gather further vital information from the customer at a time when it’s truly essential.

3. When using a live agent isn’t an option, or isn’t preferable. There are times when using a human voice is highly desirable yet a human agent is not affordable or practical. For example, when a major hack occurs, the situation may still be unfolding and the effects still being assessed, yet only a limited amount of information is available to share with the millions of customers potentially involved.

However, research shows that early and transparent customer communication in a crisis is vital to maintaining trust with those customers. In those instances, voice technology can clearly convey substantially more and better information than a written message ever could. It can advise the customer to be alert for updates as they are available and appropriate, without bogging down live call center representatives with redundant reassurances that address possibly unfounded customer anxiety.

Customers are humans, first and foremost. No matter how mobile or connected, they still have a primal need for human contact and interaction. Besides seeing your representatives in person, the next best option for communication is a phone call, as financial institutions currently taking advantage of automated voice technology have learned. Though other communication channels can be handy and quick, they can’t be matched for the ability to communicate a crucial message at the right time, at the right place, and within the perfect emotional context to ensure effectiveness.

Kili also provides a “Security Crypto Calculator” designed for all the encryption algorithms required to enable PCI PTS 4.0 system certification and end-to-end encryption of a payment transaction. The PCI (Payment Card Industry) security standards council last year published version 4.0 of the PIN Transaction Security (PTS) requirements, beefing up standards for device vendors to ensure merchants have secure devices for handling payment cards.

Founder, President & CEO of SPLICE Software, Tara Kelly (@tktechnow), has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, Data Driven DialogTM with their customers. As a serial entrepreneur who has developed three companies, Tara's expertise is multi-dimensional but ... View Full Bio

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Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 3:16:50 PM
Re: Human touch
Every time I go to a specific place in Pennsylvania, I get a fraud alert and often my card is shut down for a moment. i don't even know who to talk to to get this place whitelisted... and the fact that the process is largely autmated makes it difficult to find.
Becca L
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Becca L,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 4:55:35 PM
Re: Human touch
Brilliant. That way, the customer will be more inclined to answer, and if they miss the call at least the text lets them know who the mystery number was and why. AND they have the tools on hard to do their own followup. All boxes are checked.

Besides, these calls never come at a good time, for me it seems I'm always between meetings or entering the subway station
JenniPalocsik_Verint
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JenniPalocsik_Verint,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/30/2014 | 4:16:19 PM
Re: Human touch
You're right, Greg - and I cringed when I pulled it out of my purse! I rarely use checks any more other than for supporting neighborhood kids' fundraising efforts when they knock on my door, but had it with me that day. And Jon's assessment is a good one - there's a LOT of data for banks to keep straight about each account and each customer/accountholder - and their preferences. Will be a fine line to balance between minimizing fraud and supporting ongoing payment convenience.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 4:12:16 PM
Re: Human touch
A check? Wow. You must have been really popular with the other people waiting behind you on line. Whenever i see someone in front of me pull out their checkbook, I cringe.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 3:25:35 PM
Re: Human touch
That goes back to the issue of data quality that keeps coming up whenever I talk about customer data with banks. There's always different records with different phone numbers, addresses, emails for the same customer. It complicates so many things that banks are trying to do. Having up-to-date and relevant info is much harder than I think most people realize. I'd guess that was the last time you used a check to pay at the POS.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 3:18:10 PM
Re: Human touch
I'm one of the people mentioned in the article who ignore texts all day while I'm at work until I get back home anyway. So if there's a fraud incident in my account, my bank better have another way of reaching out to me.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 10:27:08 AM
Re: Human touch
I didn't think of that, Greg, good point. I really like the idea of the bank recognizing the cell number and immediately putting that person in touch with the right representative. The last thing a customer wants to be doing in that situation is waiting on hold! 
JenniPalocsik_Verint
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JenniPalocsik_Verint,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/30/2014 | 9:12:19 AM
Re: Human touch
There's also the added complication of joint accounts, particularly for credit cards. I recently had a transaction declined at POS because it somehow triggered an "out of pattern" fraud alert. Tried a couple more times, same result. Ended up (shockingly) writing a check to get out of the store with my purchases although I could also have switched cards. Learned later that the card provider had called my husband to ask about the transaction (he wasn't with me) and by the time he reached out to me to check it was too late. Multiple devices/phone numbers will make even a direct (human) call a challenge for financial services. Inconvenient for me and a little frustrating, but I understood. Some might not.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2014 | 8:07:53 AM
Re: Human touch
A fraud alert should ideally be a multichannel outreach because consumers often do not answer calls from phone numbers they don't recognize.

For instance, a text and email should go out that says, "Hi, this is American Express. We have detected a potential fraudulent transaction on your account. Don't worry. We have it under control. One of our representatives will be calling you in the next 5 minutes to help you and give you more details. If you would rather call us, call the number on the back of your card and you will be immediately connected to our fraud department."

And then, either the customer calls the bank, and is immediately recognized by their mobile number and connected to the proper person, or the bank calls the customer. Either way, it makes sure the customer gets the message in a timely manner and it shows the bank is being proactive.
Byurcan
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Byurcan,
User Rank: Author
10/29/2014 | 11:29:55 AM
Re: Human touch
Yes, in those moments you'd like a human voice to allay your fears.
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