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Customer Engagement

Three Ways Financial Services Can Improve CX and Onboarding

By Dr. Gerhard Heide, Director, Global Market Strategy – Customer Engagement Solutions, Pitney Bowes

Two of the most important trends in the retail banking industry today are customer experience and digital transformation. And, it’s not a coincidence that these two trends are occurring simultaneously; they go hand-in-hand, one driving the other. Lacklustre customer experiences force businesses to deploy more intuitive digital transformation tools and strategies, which in turn empower those customer experiences that draw in audiences.

Since the start of the 21st century, we’ve seen how this relationship between customer experience and digital transformation has put the customer more firmly in charge of business-to-consumer interactions than ever before. We can trace this back to a number of factors:

  • An exploding number of digital channels, offering literally dozens of new touchpoints and opportunities for customers to interact with companies
  • Customers who interact daily with companies like Apple, Google and Facebook want a similarly clear service experience from others
  • Digital-native Millennials, accustomed to doing everything on “swipeable” apps and devices, growing into a more dominant customer base

In order to stay competitive, banks need to focus on customer experience in a digital world. In fact, a large element of digital transformation in the financial services industry hinges on customer experience.

CX and Onboarding in the FinServ World

But, let’s be clear: an improved customer experience doesn’t mean getting every customer to love you. No bank is going to be seen in the same light as Apple, after all. But, a honed and digitally-savvy CX strategy should be based on:

  • Improving and streamlining self-service capabilities
  • Leveraging new digital technologies for more intuitive interactions
  • Providing support for mobile and tablet channels
  • Removing clunky jargon

When a new customer initially signs up, this is the start of the first engagement chain they’ll have with the bank. This onboarding process is the time to set the tone for the entire bank-customer relationship. Suffice it to say, it’s essential to get this right from step one. Onboarding done right has a big effect on churn and customer lifetime value. Likewise, onboarding done wrong is detrimental to overall business success. Research done by SaaS Capital found that just a one per cent change in churn can affect a company’s value by as much as 12 per cent over five years.

There are three main components that banks and financial service firms can focus on in order to make sure they’re nailing the customer onboarding process right from the start:

1.       Self-service processes and automated interactions

While customers may never fall in love with their bank, that doesn’t change the fact that they still want simple, quick and efficient ways to get their most common banking tasks done, regardless of what device they’re on or what time of day it may be. And, they certainly don’t want to get halfway through a process only to end up stuck and have to manually call up a customer service rep to proceed. They want to get done what they need, and they want to do it themselves.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, 85 per cent of customer interactions will be automated. That’s a consumer-driven trend, and one that organisations ignore at their peril. Making investments into self-service processes and automated interactions now ensures banks will be on the right side of this trend in the coming years.

2.       Using new digital technologies to improve the onboarding process and other interactions

New video technologies in particular are being rolled out to replace the long trails of paper communications that, frankly, customers aren’t really reading anyway. Interactive personalised video provides the customer with a fast, easy and highly engaging way to understand what they’ve signed up for, how to setup their accounts, how to activate a credit card, what benefits they can expect to reap, etc. Pitney Bowes EngageOne® Video shows just how successful this approach can be: in one use case, EngageOne Video yielded more clicks (55 per cent open rate compared to the industry average of 20 per cent), longer view times (twice as long as average) and overwhelming customer satisfaction (98 per cent of viewers gave positive feedback), to provide overall deeper engagement between the business and its customers.

3.       Data management and consolidation

The sometimes-forgotten side of this coin is the bank’s own processes, and how they utilise their customer data. While the customer may see the bank as a single monolithic entity, behind the scenes, there may be over 20 different touchpoints, systems and departments working together on a daily basis. Communicating with customers in an omnichannel format in real time requires a data management structure that is up to that task. That structure has to be able to connect all of the bits of available customer data together, to create a single, 360-degree view of each individual customer, their interaction history and relationships, and allow for the best way for the bank to interact with each individual. Without this, it’s impossible to engage customers in a truly meaningful way.

For more on how banks can use smarter data management tools to connect with customers and deliver more effective, customer-pleasing onboarding experiences, be sure to listen to my ondemand American Banker webcast, “Innovations for Customer Onboarding and Engagement in Financial Services.”  

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