For banks looking to improve interaction with customers, an omnichannel digital strategy is vital, allowing for more flexible and wide-reaching customer engagement. In this sense, banks can transform the customer experience by adopting diverse digital solutions that range from collaborative online tools to AI and asynchronous messaging platforms.
Yet there is a reluctance by banks to begin this process. In a 2020 Unblu sponsored report on digital tools and services, one third (35%) of financial organizations stated that they are only just beginning their journey towards digital transformation, or not pursuing digital transformation initiatives at all.
Admittedly, digital transformation is a complex task. Banks need to consider various aspects of the process, including how to create an omnichannel engagement strategy, technology priorities, the balance of traditional and digital channels, and customer preferences around automation. By examining key learnings from other banks’ journeys, we can discover how best to undertake digital transformation.
Customer engagement: the best and the worst
In Unblu’s report, the two customer service channels best rated by respondents were social media (which 51% rated as ‘excellent’) and instant messaging (which 48% rated as ‘excellent’). These two channels were considered the most effective in driving customer engagement.
Meanwhile, those channels considered the worst for engagement were voice-response bots and chatbots, which only 24% and 27% rated ‘excellent’ respectively. Clearly, the next step for banks is to enhance these particular channels, building their infrastructure to accommodate bots that are capable of supporting important customer transactions, such as balance transfers - or even complex tasks like loan applications.
Many financial providers and organizations have already integrated important digital solutions into their service, such as customer analytics, end-to-end experience platforms, omnichannel technology, mobile apps, and bots, as well as tools for acquiring customer feedback.
When it came to prioritizing different aspects of digital transformation, the two technologies that respondents considered the most important - if banks are to deliver a better customer experience within the next 12 months - were mobile apps and omnichannel and personalization tools. By identifying those tools that are considered most valuable by customers, banks can improve their service faster and more effectively.
Striking a balance
As for more traditional forms of customer engagement, these are likely to decline in popularity in the years to come. Indeed, 43% of respondents believe customer phone calls will decline as a customer experience channel in the next five years.
To ensure they create the optimal balance between conventional channels and digitally-enhanced forms of engagement, banks must analyze their customers’ communication preferences. For example, 31% of respondents believe live chat will account for the most customer-initiated service requests in the next five years, while 20% believe email will dominate. Investments in new channels and technologies should therefore be carefully considered and strategic.
Automation: moving ahead
Most financial providers understand that automation is going to play a significant role in the future of banking. Indeed, 91% of banks are at least open to the idea of using bots and automation to drive customer engagement.
Nevertheless, 62% of respondents say their customers aren’t ready for these technologies. While increased automation of services is an inevitability, any changes must take into account customer preferences and not move too fast. Each individual bank must assess how these solutions would work within the context of their particular customer service and how they might impact the customer experience.
When it comes to customer metrics, the majority of respondents (63%) will prioritize improving Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a metric. This is understandable given that improving NPS can boost business through customer recommendations.
Meanwhile, only 36% of respondents will prioritize improving their “Customer Satisfaction Rating.” This is because asking customers whether they would recommend a service offers greater insight into customer loyalty and the strength of a relationship than simply asking how satisfied they were with their experience. Banks must then analyze this feedback to understand customer communication preferences and prioritize certain initiatives.
Digital banking transformation & Unblu
Unblu’s range of digital tools empowers banks to transform their customer service, boosting engagement, improving satisfaction and loyalty, and increasing sales. Our solutions create opportunities for productive interactions between bank and customer, building trust and lasting relationships. Find out more here.