Banking Sector CX: How to Go from Average to Awesome

Would you believe that banking CX performance is lower in 2023 when compared to, say, six years ago? Yet, that is exactly what the Forrester CX Index reports tell us, and this applies to both multichannel and direct online banks. Findings from a raft of other research studies are no different. Here are some examples:

1. J.D. Power 2022 U.S. National Banking Satisfaction Study

  • Overall customer satisfaction fell for the second consecutive year in 2022, led by steep declines among customers under 40

2. State of Digital Customer Service 2020 (Source: Dimensional Research)

  • 44% of surveyed customers complained that they got different answers from different channels and contact center agents for the same question

3. State of Agent Experience and State of Knowledge Management 2023 surveys (BenchmarkPortal and KMWorld)

  • 53% of contact center agents working for banks say that customer queries are getting more complex
  • Yet only 25% of financial institutions provide AI and knowledge tools to their contact center agents and retail bankers for conversational guidance

4. Forrester survey on top customer service pain points 2015

  • 67% of consumers said that they either got different answers for the same question from contact center agents or the agents simply did not know the answer

So, what should banks do to improve customer service? Interestingly, many of the findings in items #3, and #4, outlined above, lead to the poor performance discussed in items #1 and #2, offering a roadmap for banks to move the needle on CX and EX (employee experience) transformation. Here are some steps they should take:

Digitalize the service

Accelerated by millennial and Gen Z lifestyles and preferences and the pandemic lockdowns, consumers have doubled down on digital with 80% saying that they had increased the use of digital channels during the pandemic and 90% of digital novices saying they will remain digital, according to research surveys conducted by the likes of McKinsey and others. Moreover, today’s digital citizens want to go beyond simply checking their bank account balances or doing simple money transactions to accomplishing more complex tasks such as digital form-filling and digital completion of more complex processes such as loan applications end to end. Chatbots need to go beyond simply “meet and greet” with knowledge and AI backing. Where consumers are not able to self-serve, they are looking for answers through human-assisted digital channels such as live chat and messaging apps, where they often “live” rather than making phone calls or going to the local branch. This would require financial institutions to go beyond the basics to provide service through next-gen digital touchpoints like knowledge and AI-enabled chatbots, messaging, live chat, cobrowsing, in-app service, and proactive notifications.

“Hub” the conversations

While self-service is getting increasingly smarter and more effective, there are still queries from digital-first consumers that require human assistance over digital channels like messaging and chat and if all else fails, over the phone or in person. If customer conversations are not all “hubbed” or unified into a single desktop, contact center agents and retail bankers will not have complete context. They then wind up asking the consumer to repeat information, a surefire deterrent to good CX.

“Hub” the knowledge

The biggest barrier, by far, to good customer service is getting inconsistent answers across touchpoints and lack of knowledge among customer service reps, according to a Forrester survey of 10,000+ consumers, sponsored by eGain. The cause? Inconsistent knowledge silos strewn across the contact center, branch offices, and the enterprise. The solution? An omnichannel knowledge hub with content management, conversational AI, generative AI, and analytics, all unified and orchestrated in one place. This approach will ensure that the knowledge—content, knowhow, and insights—is correct, consumable, compliant, and consistent. Moreover, knowledge and AI-backed conversational assistance and real-time compliance and sentiment monitoring ensure empathetic service and adherence to regulations, an important requirement in the context of huge compliance penalties incurred by banks in recent times.

Select the right solution partner

Technology matters as the world goes digital and AI. So do best practices and domain expertise. Make sure you pick a partner whose technology is proven, who has had success at scale in the banking sector, and who is compliant with privacy and security standards. Does the vendor provide end-to-end services, including training/education, implementation, and managed services? Do they have a formalized customer success program? Do they offer risk-free production pilots—not just a toy sandbox—to try out their solution with expert guidance, all free of charge in the pilot phase. Vendors’ willingness to put real skin in the game shows their commitment to your success and confidence in their own solution.

Client success stories

  • Global megabank boosted First Contact Resolution (FCR) by 36% and slashed training time by 40% with AI and knowledge-powered conversational guidance
  • A credit union giant engages with millions of members across digital channels such as SMS, email, and mobile app to create proactive, wow experiences. The credit union sends over a billion messages per year, using over 800 knowledge templates created in as little as 10 minutes! Rich API integrations enable 360-degree customer views for agents as well as seamless notification set up and delivery automation.

Final word

Prioritizing digitalization, unifying conversations and knowledge with omnichannel hubs, and working with a proven solution provider will enable banking CX to go from average to awesome!
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