Consumers are quickly learning which of their service providers are adapting best to this new world. Are financial services providers like banks and credit unions adapting, or falling behind?
Finances are a highly personal topic, and often, illogical or emotional. Will I have enough? Will it be available when I need it? It is always a hot topic of conversation, but especially during a pandemic when unemployment rates are rising, and the economic landscape is unsettled. In the past, a consumer could walk into the bank, have a reassuring conversation with a representative and move on. But today, how can banks help their customers through tough financial times when in-person communication is nearly impossible? One solution is to provide helpful, personalized customer service through digital channels.
While in-person assistance will remain important after COVID-19, consumers are looking for assistance now. In this article, we will look at why banks are turning to video and voice appointments to boost customer satisfaction and meet customer expectations.
1. Comply with social distancing
Our Modern Consumer Banking Report last year showed that when consumers visit branches, it’s primarily to talk face-to-face and ask questions/get help.
Research from Bain reinforces this, and emphasizes that “many retail banking customers think it’s easier to purchase through a human channel, or prefer to speak with an employee before buying a product.”
Due to social distancing measures, branches cannot be customers’ primary way of managing their finances during this pandemic. However, this doesn’t mean that customers aren’t interested in personalized attention that can be made available via video and voice.
2. Meet new demand
Although spending habits may have changed, consumers are still making critical financial decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Individuals: The financial effects of coronavirus are drastically different from one consumer to the next. While some are counting down the days to receipt of their unemployment check, others may be taking advantage of low-interest rates to buy a house. Ultimately, banks and credit unions need to address each customer segment with a unique message and way of providing assistance.
Small business banking: Countless small businesses around the world have been forced to close their doors. Whether they’re needing loans, payment deferrals, or advice, small businesses are looking to their bank as a guide, and a comfort.
Investment management: A recession is upon us, and with that comes a new approach to investing. Financial advisors are fielding questions, providing recommendations, and staying up to date on the market. Beyond this, many are building entirely new strategies for their clients.
Regardless of customer type, it’s clear that each subset of customers needs help from their financial institution at this time.
3. Boost customer retention
Financial institutions cannot afford to lose customers during the pandemic, so customer retention is crucial.
Great customer service boosts customer loyalty, and research from Bain shows that loyalty is key to retention:
Customer loyalty increases revenue, and loyal customers are less likely to switch to a competing bank.
Customers who are a bank’s “promoters” recommend the bank to others as much as six times more than “detractors.”
A bank’s “promoters” spend one-quarter more than detractors on their primary credit card.
Ultimately, being able to connect with a customer in need using video or voice can give customers peace of mind and boost loyalty. Delivering personalized financial services without interruption is crucial.
Initial results from video banking show that consumers consider the service valuable. Phoenix Synergistics’ survey from December 2019 found that 17% of customers polled had used video chat through a website or app with their financial institution. Of those that had used video chat, 89% found video chat valuable.
Tips for banks using remote appointments:
Ensure your solution is secure and doesn’t expose personal information outside of the conversation
Create a culture of consultation to alleviate outstanding fears or unsettledness
Leverage appointment setting to allow customers to pre-schedule consultations and inquiries
Include remote appointments as part of a suite of “touchless” offerings