With the commoditization of most of the products in the financial services industry, the focus is now shifting towards customer experience as a benchmark for customers to select a particular financial service company. Majority of the financial services companies cite CX as a top strategic priority. In one of my recent blogs, I also talked about how CX coupled with technology is giving a level-playing ground for startups to compete with the big boys of financial services. But, is there a way in which the big boys can adapt to these changes, improve their CX, and come out on the top?
Here are a few pointers on how the big boys could really work their way around.
In today’s era, customers prefer personalized experiences. They don’t want to be exposed to marketing strategies that are irrelevant to them. Rather, they would pay heed to only those advertisements or offers that are useful to them. Now, it is the responsibility of the financial services company to provide such personalized experiences.
Luckily, the big banks are blessed with a huge customer base and, hence, they have data of millions of customers and their transactions. Unlike startups, they also have the resources to invest in big data and analytics tools. Imagine how amazing it would be if these companies would be able to predict the important life events in their customer’s lives such as college admission or retirement and, then, pitch in at the right time with products such as student loans, home loans and the like. The probability of conversion would be extremely high if these products are introduced to customers at the right time.
One of the companies that utilizes data analytics to enhance its customer experience is American Express. For instance, Amex uses data analytics very effectively for fraud detection and card theft cases. One such famous incident occurred with the CX Guru, Shep Hyken. Mr. Hyken’s card saw a huge number of transactions that were occurring from the other side of the world. Amex got suspicious and verified this with Mr. Hyken, only to understand that his card was being used fraudulently. Once it realized that the card was compromised, it canceled the card immediately. To top it, it refunded the money and delivered a new card to Mr. Hyken’s hotel within the next 24 hours. Isn’t this a wonderful example of top class customer service aided by data analytics?
Providing convenience to customers
Convenience is one of the biggest factors for customers to choose a financial service company. Gone are the days when the customers would visit a bank to open an account or go to an insurance firm to get their claims processed. Today, customers are looking forward to getting their requirements fulfilled through channels of their choice. Hence, it is becoming important to provide an omnichannel experience. For example, to address customer’s grievances, companies today are using channels ranging from call centers, both IVR and in person, to AI-powered chatbots. And customers are choosing a communication channel convenient to them. Also, when the customers call a number, they wish to get connected to the real person as soon as possible. Now, to provide a consistent and top-class experience across channels, it requires lots of investments, which the big boys can certainly afford.
One such example of a company that has made it easy for its customers to make transactions is ABN AMRO. ABN AMRO has come up with an innovative app called Tikkie. This allows customers to transfer the funds through WhatsApp. All customers need to do is enter the recipient’s name from their WhatsApp contacts and the amount of money that needs to be transferred. As soon as they send the message, the receiver gets a link and with one click he is directed to the payment environment whereby the payment can be received.
Using Social media and Feedback systems
It goes without saying that an active presence on a social media platform is a must to reach the modern day audience. But a more interesting fact is that, nearly 44% of the adults use social media to complain. According to a Deloitte Research, customers trust peer references seven times more than advertising. What these two findings indicate are:
- Ensure the customers’ complaints are handled before they start to complain using social media and affect your brand value. Negative feedback spreads like wildfire.
- If customers do complain on social media, be responsive and proactive about taking action.
Though the ideal aim is to have zero complaining customers, there is always a chance that a slip up might happen here and there. And when this happens, the company must have systems in place that could take note of the issue and close the loop on the same. It is very important that the company captures feedback from customers periodically, takes note of the complaints raised by the customer, and closes the loop on these issues by acting on them.
If the issues are raised through social media, the brands must be very responsive. And this appears to be one area that quite a few financial services firms have mastered. Out of the 16 banks surveyed by Econsultancy, the response time for banks to respond to customer grievances is anywhere between 3 minutes and 1 hour 24 minutes.
However, social media shouldn’t be treated only as a complaining platform for the customers or advertising platform to the target audience. It can also be a great platform to showcase people the values of the company. For example, check the Twitter page of United States Automobile Association (USAA). During the event of any catastrophe, USAA is continually looking to make things easy and convenient for its customer base through its social media channels. Its cornerstone is, undoubtedly, customer happiness. Have a look at a few of its tweets yourself.
Do check out this video too:
To sum it up, the established companies of the financial services sector agree that Customer Experience must be a top strategic priority. However, studies reveal that only 30% of them have invested in CX. The pointers above could help such companies greatly enhance their customer experience. Are there any other factors that these big boys could use to up their CS quotient? Do let me know!