Over the past few years, we’ve seen tremendous innovation of banking technology across the banking sector. With headlines of bricks and mortar branches diminishing, the emergence of new challenger banks has piled the pressure on financial firms to elevate their digital customer experience (CX). The industry has responded by investing in the digital experience. The majority of customers can already access their banking services 24/7 through apps and mobile sites, but it’s not enough to simply be present online.
Great CX is also about speed, convenience, and satisfaction. That means quick and easy access to funds, balances and bank accounts, and a range of banking technology features to help customers navigate their finances on their terms.
Yet all too often, a seemingly simple banking task, like unlocking an account, can take hours – whether that’s due to staffing pinch points, siloed data, or legacy tech causing unnecessary delays.
So, how are banks deploying technology to cut down wait times? Whether these wait times are queuing in a branch, on hold on the phone, or lengthy online processes.
First up, we’re seeing many more financial service businesses taking advantage of the developments in conversational AI – signalling a move away from simpler ‘chat bots’.
Customers are looking for efficient and personalized experiences when interacting with their bank or financial services provider. And chat bots have a reputation for providing a basic, frustrating, and ineffective service.
But, the developments in banking technology are now elevating simple chat bot functionality beyond automated responses to the more refined and complex realm of Conversational AI. Interactions are intuitive, personalized, and easy, with technologies even able to determine the tone and attitude of the customer.
It does this by using sophisticated AI to access and harness the intelligence of a whole organization and its systems, then provide a realistic, human-like conversation that in turn enhances the customer’s experience.
Bots can now be smart, accessing information seamlessly and instantly, giving customers what they want without choosing from drop-down menus or waiting on a call. This gives customers precious time back and frees up staff for more complex requests, which has become more important as customers seek help to manage their finances as the cost of living increases rapidly.
Fully integrated applications
Long gone are the days when the average customer’s first point of call was a physical branch, with younger generations leading a growing digital-first approach and those used to more traditional banking catching up. Now, mobile apps and online features are front and center when it comes to servicing customers.
App features that were once considered a luxury, like paying a cheque in, are now a necessary offering. To keep customers happy, banks are being challenged to take their apps a step further and integrate features that will significantly reduce wait times – by preventing the need to visit a branch or call customer support.
Banks like Monument, which launched in 2021 to fulfill the needs of the 4.8 million “mass affluent”, have proved that it’s possible to eliminate wait times for a variety of services – from simple balance transfers to applying for large loans.For example, conversational AI is becoming intuitive enough to understand when a customer needs more than a text-based approach. A screen share or video link can be launched and the customer passed onto an agent to be visually guided through a task, eliminating unnecessarily complicated phone calls.
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What’s more, integrating voice and video calls directly into an app, where authentication has already taken place, removes the need for the time-consuming authentication processes that many established banks use. The bank is secure, but it’s not inhibiting the customer experience.
Customers are demanding more connected and consolidated experiences that allow them to have better access to and more control over their finances. And they don’t like waiting.
For banks and financial institutions, this means CX and personal experience (PX) is no longer a nice to have, it is a must-have to remain competitive – particularly when so many challenger organizations are entering the market and reinforcing their presence.
As such, it isn’t hard to envisage a future where the majority CX for every bank is a digitally-assisted experience, rather than human-assisted experience. A smarter level of customer service, combining human assistance and technology, can help the majority of customers get a resolution to their queries quickly and without fuss.