There is a key point when a customer who has been engaging in commoditized, digital transactions seeks engagement with a knowledgeable human. This point is the Handoff, and it is a uniquely important moment of the customer journey. There are two customer expectations that explain why this is:
The customer expects human interactions to be convenient and flexible, as the customers are now conditioned by the availability and ease of use of digital transactions
The customer expects the banking representative to quickly access that customer’s previous activity and current state, and incorporate that information into the interaction
Let’s consider what makes a successful Handoff.
Initiation and Timing
A Handoff that is scheduled in advance gives staff the ability to prepare for the meeting. Easy to use appointment scheduling software is the best option for providing customers the ability to book their service and identify their needs in advance.
Appointment scheduling options should be an integrated part of the customer’s digital experience. As the customer engages in online transactions, the appointment booking option should always be present. When online activity indicates a higher value transaction might be of interest, such as a mortgage, a personalized message about appointment booking for that specific type of transaction should be offered via online buttons and email solicitations.
The customer should be able to find an available appointment slot in as few clicks as possible and receive a seamless experience, whether they are booking an appointment online, through a mobile app, or in person, no matter how complex their journey may be. When the booking process is optimized, the customer is more willing to share information that can be used during the Handoff.
Customers may develop personal relationships with your staff, such as a wealth advisor or mortgage consultant. However, at the point of the Handoff, when they are first going from digital to human interactions, they have not developed these connections. Despite this, you should not assume the customer has no expectations during the Handoff process. Better to assume that to the customer, your entire staff ‘exists as one person.’
What this means in practice is that information shared by the customer to one area or person your organization is assumed to be immediately available to anyone the customer interacts with. The customer does not want to tell the same stories over and over. If they have, for example, indicated online that they are interested in college savings for their newborn, providing excellent customer service would dictate that this is already top of mind for any of the staff they meet with. If the customer recently took out a small business loan, excellent customer service would dictate that your staff inquiries about the progress of the small business, even if the customer is inquiring about another service at that time. When the customer provides critical information to any human or non-human in your organization, that customer assumes that information has been provided to everyone in your organization.
We’ve seen that quite a bit of information on the customer and their intentions can be generated before The Handoff takes place. We’ve also demonstrated the benefits of getting that information to your staff before and during their meeting with the customer. The mechanism for transferring this information can determine how informed your staff is and, ultimately, how personalized the customer experience is.
All banks have some sort of grading system for customers. This system defines who is likely to need a mortgage, who is a candidate for a home equity loan, etc. This grade should be highly visible to staff prior to and during the Handoff. Additionally, information about the appointment and generated during the appointment should supplement the grading system itself, improving the data quality of your institution.
Appointments, whether in-person, over the phone, or by video, give that personal touch and human-to-human experience your customers and members are looking for. Combining the strengths of both technology and human experience is the key to building a stronger data culture and a more effective customer engagement model that will drive revenue and loyalty. Timing the Handoff portion of the customer journey right will ensure a seamless, professional and rewarding experience for both the customer and your organization.