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Creating a better banking experience

26th Aug 2020
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At a time when everyone is more connected than ever with smartphones and virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, people have come to expect the same level of sophisticated technology from their savings bank or building society that they use in their personal lives. Today, that means getting any information they need or service they require on any device immediately at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They don’t have time to jump on the phone and they certainly don’t have time to wait on hold. They want a consistent, personalised experience that delivers the results they want quickly.

In short, smaller banks and building societies need to offer digital tools as part of their customer service experience. Consumers, especially from the younger Gen Z and Millennial generations, are increasingly opting for self-service options in daily transactions and will turn to financial institutions that can offer the same capabilities. Despite this shift, these customers still want to receive the same white-glove service they would receive in-person, with the speed and convenience of online banking. They want options that allow them to self-service and operate independently, with the knowledge that the support of a fully informed and empowered customer service team is there behind the scenes to provide answers and resolve requests that need a human touch.

Remaining Competitive

So many businesses, from retail to hospitality, are struggling to create exceptional customer experiences as consumers demand convenience and immediacy. Simply put, delivering this level of service often comes at a high cost for companies, especially those with service teams that are not armed with the necessary tools. This is especially the case with smaller banks and building societies, which have historically been hyper-focused on differentiating on member experience and truly understanding their member bases. As big banks have implemented new, cutting-edge technologies, however, this point of differentiation has been diluted.

Today, small banks and building societies have the opportunity to take this advantage back. The key? AI.

Improving Customer Experience with AI

Artificial intelligence powered technologies, like chatbots, provide the necessary capabilities to support the new generation of service expectations and enable smaller banks to serve thousands of members at once without putting anyone on hold. These digital engagement tools also give these financial institutions the ability to provide service at scale as numbers continues to grow and fight back against big banks that, according to J.D. Power, are closing the satisfaction gap with smaller competitors.

AI helps smaller banks and building societies shape a customer experience that exceeds expectations and allows them to remain competitive by eliminating friction and personalising each customer’s experience. By putting AI behind a static customer service page, such as the FAQ page, customers can engage with a bot at any hour of the day to ask their questions. When engaged, the chatbot taps into its extensive knowledge base, which is constantly updating as more data is pulled in from customer interactions, to answer questions. This removes the frustration that would occur for a member when navigating around a website unable to find what they’re looking for. Just as valuable, the data from these interactions can be used to better understand most frequently asked questions, points of confusion and new features or offerings people are curious about, so the site can be optimised to be even more member friendly. 

Additionally, when a situation requires a human touch, these bots provide behind-the-scenes support for employees – leveraging the same knowledge base to ensure every agent has access to the information necessary to provide each customer with quick, seamless and personalised support. This could be anything from the answer the agent may need or the customer’s support history and preferences. This seamless integration ensures an exceptional customer experience.

Improving the Agent Experience

In addition to acting as an information resource, these bots work behind the scenes to perfectly complement the work of an agent by handling repetitive and mundane tasks and questions. Instead of a customer asking an agent about fees, common policy questions or directions to the closest branch, the bot can handle these inquiries removing the burden from human employees. This not only gives customers a 24-hour response window but helps small banks and building societies maximise their service teams’ value by allowing them to focus on higher level issues.

As their customer base evolves, savings banks and building societies must use a variety of tools to meet their ever-changing expectations to provide exceptional experiences no matter the time or channel. With the help of AI-powered technologies, these businesses can improve both the customer and employee experience and compete with larger financial institutions well into the future.

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