Alkami Technology Plano Texas

The changing face of customer service in digital banking

Users have increasingly adopted digital channels as their primary mode of communication. Now that millions of Americans must rely on digital banking as they socially distance, banks and credit unions must deliver a seamless and effective digital customer service experience to support their users.

Users expect a customer service experience as responsive and personalized as what community banks and credit unions have historically differentiated themselves by: face-to-face, in-branch, and phone-based customer service. To maintain user trust and loyalty, financial institutions (FIs) must employ digital solutions that match or beat their usual level of service. By combining human interaction with technology, banks and credit unions can provide personalized customer service experiences for users.

Bring the branch home

Though stay-at-home orders are beginning to lighten in some parts of the country, social distancing and self-quarantining will continue to impact branch traffic. With so much happening so quickly, the customer service experience could take a back seat to simply taking care of business. But a customer service experience that continues to center the user amid so much uncertainty and developing news is what will set successful FIs apart in the near future.

With chat, video banking, and other virtual customer service solutions, you can be among the FIs that replicate the branch experience anywhere, anytime. Automated tools, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, can help FIs resolve customer service issues efficiently, reduce support costs, improve user satisfaction, and strengthen user relationships.

For users, the experience could look like this: after receiving an SMS text or app push notification for an offer or an update on account activity, a user can follow a link in the notification to chat with a representative. In the early stages of the conversation, the representative could be an AI bot that gathers user information that a remote teller can use to assist them in personalizing the experience. The bot could also direct users to self-service tools, freeing up support staff for more complex support needs. Ultimately, a user could end up on video chat with support staff who can provide personalized assistance as effectively as with an in-branch visit.

Tools of the trade

Check with your digital banking platform provider to find out how you can use these tools to connect with your brand more often and on more channels.

For digital messaging that keeps users up to date with their account balance (Did that stimulus check come through yet?) or of personalized offers (Need to defer any loan payments?), your digital banking platform will need to support an advanced notification delivery tool.

To grant users the ability to perform banking transactions through voice services with interfaces like Amazon Alexa or through text interfaces using Abe AI, ask about your digital banking platform’s conversational banking capabilities. With this customer service solution, you can deliver consistent, effective service that gives users deeper financial insights and easy accessibility to and control over their finances when they need it most. Even better, you can lower call center volume and enhance scalability.

Focusing on customer service through digital banking can also help you secure long-term users in a short-term circumstance. By gathering user sentiment through your digital banking app (technology partners like Apptentive offer the ability to gather user comments), you can facilitate direct user feedback and favorable app ratings in-app to personalize the experience even more.

With 43% of all consumers claiming they would abandon a brand if their questions go unanswered or issues are unresolved, acting on continuous feedback that users can see being put to use will keep them around long after branch banking returns to normal.

As you reimagine how to employ digital banking capabilities or add customer service tools to your platform, keep your team in mind. GonzoBanker recently reported that before the pandemic, only about one in five contact centers supported remote workers. When reported in mid-April, 75% of FIs were at least in partial remote deployment.

Users aren’t the only ones who need intuitive and personalized customer service solutions. The technology that helps users bank as normally as possible can also make work easier for customer service staff.

Making it happen

When asked in a recent poll, “During social distancing, how much more or less likely are you to leverage digital banking and digital payments?” 68% of those in the 18 to 34 years-old demographic said they would be likely to increase. A more surprising 82% of 45 to 64 year-olds said they would increase usage. That translates to a huge number of non-digital native new users signing up or engaging with digital banking in deeper ways. And they’ll have questions.

Cornerstone has shared that banks and credit unions are reporting spikes in inbound calls by 20% or more as a result of the pandemic. To meet new customer service demands, you may have to increase or cross-train staff. You’ve likely already discovered that going almostly completely digital has forced your team to wear many hats. But even with the convenience of automated customer service tools, you’ll need all hands to deck to make the experience seamless for your users.

To get the word out to users that you’re providing a business-as-usual experience remotely, market to your users via your digital banking platform. Each time a user logs in to check their balance, they can see an ad for your digital capabilities in transfers, loan applications, bill pay, financial wellness…all the things that users need to feel in control of their finances.

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