Meeting the needs of the 24/7 customer through empowered staff with the best tools. Bold 360 brings us on the modern customer journey and highlights both their evolving expectations and how to satisfy them, winning both loyalty and competitive advantage in the process. We sit down for a special Q&A with Celine Allain, Financial Services lead at Bold360 by LogMeIn.
The modern customer is said to have high expectations and little in the way of brand loyalty. Is it possible to deliver customer service that meets the demands of today’s customer?
Yes, if we make it easy for customers to interact and respect their time. Customers want immediacy, 24/7, omnichannel access and choice between ‘do it myself’ and ‘speak to agent’. There must be a continuous focus on removing friction from the customer journey by allowing them to engage when and how they want and by helping them find the right information when and where they need it.
It is no longer acceptable to ask a customer to go through multiple screens, clicks, or agents to accomplish simple tasks, such as finding “nearby ATM’s” or adding a “new payee”.
Customers have very little patience; time is precious and no one wants to spend time on hold dealing with a customer service issue. Delivering outstanding customer experience is understanding that the customer’s time is as valuable as the company’s and operating accordingly.
That may well mean offering self-service options like 24/7 support through AI-powered chatbots, or simply offering to call back when an agent is available. In fact, more than half of all consumers now expect a customer service response within one hour. They also expect the same response times on weekends as on weekdays. The demand for instant answers has forced organisations to remain accessible and on-demand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This must be a priority in any Financial institution’s customer experience strategy.
Improving and delivering great customer experience isn’t just a requirement. It’s an opportunity! In fact, Forrester links customer experience to greater loyalty and revenue growth across industries.
How can customer service departments be equipped to provide the full suite of responses to a firm’s customers?
The number of customer engagement channels has exploded in recent years.
Whether it’s messaging channels, voice assistance, web chat or SMS, the challenge is looking at all these ways of engaging customers and delivering a seamless experience across each one.
The omnichannel approach is more important than ever to ensure that the customer gets their queries answered at any time and from whatever channel they choose.
Put simply, you need to go where your customers are (i.e., to their preferred channels) in order to create customer experiences that convert them into loyal, long-term purchasers. Companies that focus on customer experience as a competitive differentiator grow 5 times faster than those that don’t, driving faster conversions and increasing lifetime customer value (LCV).
An omnichannel system, unlike a multichannel approach, integrates all channels for a seamless and consistent customer experience. Customers want control, not confusion, which is why self-service has become a preferred way for customers to conveniently interact with businesses. Numbers tell the tale: 81% of customers try to self-serve before calling a contact centre and 35% of consumers want to see more companies using chatbots.
For self-service to work efficiently, tools like chatbots need be deployed across multiple channels, offering conversational capabilities and unique personalities.
If a customer can’t meet their needs via self-service, it is essential to escalate the interaction to the right agent at the right time. When customer engagement is enabled by AI, escalation from self-service to agents happens seamlessly and with all context from the self-service interaction intact. The agent and customer continue where the bot left off.
Memorable customer experiences often depend on the productivity of your agents. Your agents must have access to all relevant customer information to deliver those great experiences. The top three drivers of customer dissatisfaction with agents are, according to ICMI:
- An agent was not able to assist or resolve an issue
- A customer experienced a long hold or delay in response
- An agent gave customer the wrong answer
Financial institutions need to be empowering employees with robust, omnichannel dashboards to give agents a unified view of the entire customer journey which allow the agent to focus on resolving the customer’s issue(s).
What are some of the barriers to change within organisations?
Change is hard and change management is especially hard. It’s vital to get everyone involved to see there is a way to deliver much better outcomes for customers.
It’s somewhat of a cliché analogy, but it works:
Your team is on a burning platform. First, you want everyone to agree there is a problem — the platform is burning and will collapse soon. Once everyone agrees the platform is burning, they need to be in lockstep about the future state they would prefer.
Ideally, everyone should agree not just to jump to something better but also what better looks like. If you can’t get everyone aligned, you may just end up jumping on to another burning platform.
In the real world, this means getting everyone to realise there is a problem — the way you’re currently doing things isn’t working. If you’re all in agreement, you can figure out how to fix this problem for the future.
Is the problem technological? Is it a problem with training? Organisational structure?
What are some of the key technologies shaping the future of customer service?
There have been profound digital transformation trends in the financial services industry over recent year, such as mobile banking and mobile apps. In today’s digital banking environment, we can pretty much do everything from our mobile devices: transfer funds, apply for loans, add new payee.
Today’s customers don’t want a pretty building. They want 24/7 access, easy-to-use apps, and as little human contact as possible.
In my view, the most disruptive trend in customer service in the financial services sector is the role that AI has played in customer and employee engagement.
AI has supported financial institutions in digitising their business in a way that makes them competitive. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence are helping companies not only streamline internal processes, but also improve the experience they provide to customers.
AI is already showing a big impact across the customer journey by delivering always-on, faster and more tailored experiences at scale. As these types of experiences continue to become the norm, businesses that don’t keep up will quickly see their customer base dwindle, putting the organisation at risk.
For financial services institutions, large and small, customer experience is becoming one of the key competitive differentiators. The best way to deliver an impactful experience is to empower customer-facing employees to do their best work. Artificial intelligence is enabling these employees to create remarkably better customer experiences, resulting in customer loyalty, advocacy, and overall growth. Powered by natural language processing, bots can listen in on agents’ calls, provide accurate answers quickly, and suggest best practice answers to improve sales effectiveness.
How does Bold360 help overcome those challenges and empower the agents?
Organisations are already taking steps towards modernising how they service customers and investing in the correct technology is vital. Emerging technologies, such as AI-powered chatbots, are helping organisations provide quicker resolutions and simplify the job of a customer service agent. The symbiotic relationship between human agents and technology is critical to success.
While speed is important, it’s equally important to not lose the human touch many customers still value. That is why Bold360 ai uses Natural Language Understanding to help you start learning your customers’ needs from the very first interaction. Its smart routing capability directs customers to the best resource available, and captures data in an intuitive dashboard. Organisation using Bold 360 ai start seeing results within weeks.
The ability to balance speed and personalisation leads to increased customer satisfaction levels as well as the reputational benefits that follow.
A powerful example is how Bold360 ai reduced the Royal Bank of Scotland’s customer inquiry handling time by instantly serving up relevant information to agents. The artificial intelligence (AI) assistant helped agents “get it right in one shot,” reducing operational costs and increasing customer satisfaction. Since implementing Bold360 ai in September 2016, the platform has made many of RBS’s processes more efficient, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.
Contact forms are starting to be assigned and used by both product and marketing teams, which previously acted in silos. The Voices Dashboard aggregates customer feedback and clearly displays where the company needs to add content to the knowledge base. Customer service agents are resolving issues faster and can focus on high-value areas of the customer experience.
The best part? Implementation was so much quicker and easier than expected. A prior system took nine months to set up but Bold360 ai was up-and-running and reducing call handling time in just six weeks.
Now is the time for organisations to get ahead of the CX challenge before they get left behind.