Purpose-built, AI-based contact centres can help financial services firms overcome legacy challenges and better meet the evolving expectations of banking customers
Consumers have become more demanding of their financial services providers over the past decade, expecting banks to meet them where and when they want to interact through their preferred channel and device. When it comes to the interactions themselves, they expect to be served not only quickly but in a personalised and contextual way that doesn’t require answering the same questions repeatedly while being passed through different channels and agents.
While these are firm expectations of contact centres across all industries in the digital age, customer emotions often run deeper when dealing with banks - the guardians of our money and day-to-day transactions. Consumers increasingly want banks to not just provide financial services but also advice, looking out for their overall financial wellbeing.
There’s a lot at stake. The days of staying with a bank for life are dwindling, while digital-first banks have made the ability to switch between financial services institutions seamless and easy. In a recent global study by Talkdesk, almost two-thirds of financial services customers said a single poor customer service experience will negatively impact their brand loyalty, presenting a stark and immediate threat to incumbent banks.
“Banking customers today are no longer sticky,” says Rahul Kumar, director of financial services strategy at customer experience solutions firm Talkdesk. “The proliferation of digital technology means our interactions with money are now constant; it’s embedded in everything we do. And if something goes wrong, people ultimately expect their bank to be available, proactive and able to resolve issues promptly. If that experience is not delivered, they can very quickly take their business somewhere else, which is a real threat for banks.”
Seven in 10 customers are more loyal to financial services companies that are actively investing in customer experience and accelerating their pace of innovation, the Talkdesk research found. However, expectations are failing to be met, in large part because banks are using traditional contact centre solutions not built specifically for financial services firms.
Given banks have complex ecosystems supporting complex banking processes, it has become increasingly difficult to adapt to customer expectations that evolve in real time. The instant gratification desired by consumers today cannot be delivered by legacy technology ecosystems, leaving incumbent banks struggling to keep pace with the customer experience offered by the nimble, digital-native upstarts that have emerged in recent years.
“Consumers want everything now, but banks aren’t able to deliver that experience through their current contact centres,” Kumar says. “Legacy technology is a key inhibitor to innovating quickly and delivering the contact centre experiences that customers expect.”
To help financial institutions overcome these barriers, Talkdesk has created the first cloud contact centre solution built specifically for banks. Talkdesk Financial Services Experience Cloud for Banking simplifies the complex technology ecosystem that has been developed in large financial institutions over the years, offering a unified, modern, secure and intelligent platform that is purpose-built to support cross-channel customer journeys in banking today.
With the solution, banks can orchestrate a number of modern customer journeys. They can offer a white glove experience for lending using Talkdesk video chat and co-browse capabilities, for instance. They can use AI to not only automate simple interactions but also proactively engage customers in contextual interactions. They can also elevate the experience of their agents by providing a single pane of glass that provides them with all the tools and information they need to deliver the best customer experience, while driving productivity and efficiency for the banks.
“These are all facets of what the Talkdesk platform enables, purpose-built for banking,” says Kumar. “And as we are a turnkey solution, offering all of these capabilities and integrations into back-end systems, we can significantly accelerate time to value for a contact centre investment by giving financial services companies everything they need in a single system.”
AI is set to be a central enabler of the best customer experiences in banking. Contact centres are bogged down by thousands of routine queries and requests that are easy to deal with but dominate the valuable time of agents, such as questions about account balances, recent transactions or resetting passwords. Using AI technology to automate these simple interactions elevates the customer experience by facilitating fast self-service.
When more complex interactions are passed onto human agents, AI is there again to improve interactions through contextual analysis. This could involve giving agents tips and guidance, real-time prompts or access to relevant information based on the intent of the conversation. The result, again, is that issues and enquiries are dealt with much faster.
For banks, the value is not only in the improved customer experience and the knock-on impacts on customer churn, but driving cost efficiencies too. The cost of servicing a customer with an agent is estimated to be around eight to 10 times higher than the cost of servicing a customer with AI. Even when human agents are required, their ability to service people faster, supported by AI, reduces average handling times, and therefore costs, further.
“The future of banking is going to be more commoditised,” says Kumar. “Newer business models are coming into play, such as banking as a service, embedded finance and marketplace offerings, which will only lead to even more complex ecosystems with multiple partners playing a role in orchestrating a single customer journey. Our goal is to help simplify and deliver the best customer experience, even in these complex ecosystems.
“We also believe the future of customer experience in banking is not just digital, it is hybrid. We expect a clever mix of technology and people to be the most prevalent interaction model for banks in the years ahead. Our ability to deliver a cohesive, connected experience in this hybrid model is key. We continue to make investments in AI to make it more predictive and improve the self-service experience, but we’re also investing in ensuring the agent experience - delivering those customer conversations - is seamless, fast and secure.”
For more information visit talkdesk.com/banking
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