When it comes to personal finance and money management, real time customer care and service really matters. Considering the recent reports of security breaches at some of the largest banks and retailers in the world, consumers and business customers want to know they can reach a professional who can answer questions and sort out any challenges without long hold times, dropped calls especially after having been in the queue, and lack of CTI causing customers to have to repeat their information (for example).
While more and more consumers and businesses are taking advantage of self-service on the web for everything from balance inquiries, making payments, transferring funds, initiating trades and more, when there is a breach or other event, reaching a human being who can help navigate systems and resolve problems is what can differentiate bank brands.
JPMC, the largest U.S. bank based on assets disclosed earlier this month that unknown attackers stole customers’ contact information—including names, email addresses, phone numbers and addresses. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The breach, which was first disclosed in August and is still under investigation by the bank and law enforcement, extended to the bulk of the bank’s customer base, affecting an amount equivalent to two-thirds of American households. It also affected about seven million of J.P. Morgan’s small-business customers.”
The bank immediately notified customers, and in their communications insisted they were on the case.
“These kinds of attacks are frequent, and while this one was sophisticated, we stopped it and continue to invest in preventing future attacks,” the bank said.
The bank was prepared with a “real time communications” strategy and their contact center representatives were briefed and able to handle increased call volume, but none of this happened without sophisticated technology including call routing, recording and escalation features in place.
As consumer and business banking becomes more competitive, digital innovations and “multichannel” strategies are lowering the bar to entry for new competitors, like Ally Bank, while raising the bar for ensuring security particularly as more and more payments go mobile. Millennial entrepreneurs and consumers are going to drive even harder the demand for “real time” service through any device at any time, and that includes human conversations by voice and video.
Think for a moment about the relationship between a private banker or broker and high-net-worth individual – being able to initiate an immediate face-to-face video call with a single touch of a button (using, for example, a WebRTC powered browser based application) to discuss a large trade in a fast moving market has tremendous value. We often want to look each other in the eye and capture not only voice and data, but the human expression which enriches decision making and negotiation.
Customer service doesn’t just happen “on the phone” – bank branches are continually investing in digital communications strategies inside physical locations which help extend “the conversation.” Bank of America is experimenting with “humanizing” the ATM experience in branches with ATM tellers, for example – while a small regional bank, www.coastal24.com, has completely eliminated tellers while offering interactive video tellers through all their ATMs.
Tom Pritzker, EVP at John Ryan (a company based in the UK working with hundreds of banks on strategy and multichannel customer experience excellence) offered his thoughts on the future of branches in 2014 and beyond:
- Increased and innovative use of technology to transform the branch into more collaborative and relevant sales and information centers including:
- Enhanced use of tablet technology for side-by-side selling applications
- Greater use of mobile, and digital interactivity within the branch – particularly with a view to starting conversations, understanding customers’ needs and generating cross sales
- Sophisticated targeting of marketing messages within the branch based on improved cross channel customer data
- Use of geo-fencing to provide highly relevant and location based offers and to lure customers into the branch
- Novel uses of technology to start conversations — Use of augmented reality to prompt sales demos
Salesforce CRM, which claims to have the lead market share in CRM for financial institutions, shares an interesting case study about Wells Fargo, “The Relationship Bank” – check out the video here:
At Dreamforce, 2014, which is “half conference, half rock concert,” PWC shared their insights on wealth management using Salesforce cloud. You can download their excellent white paper on the subject here:
While the “Internet of Things” is growing beyond expectations, perhaps it is the “Internet of Customers” as coined by salesforce, that we really need to pay attention to.