Modernising the banking experience – don’t forget customer service

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2 minute read

When challenger banks first emerged, their inherent agility and efficiency was both admired and feared by their incumbent competitors. For most it was a wake-up call, a warning that they too needed to change operations.

Like other industries, digital transformation became a priority for the finance sector. Improving the way that data is acquired, created and applied is now critical to maintaining market share.

The importance of digital transformation was thrown into sharp relief during the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 and again this year. Reduced footfall in branches became zero footfall as customers obeyed stay-at-home orders, driving almost all operations online overnight.

Shortfalls in quality of service, or less than stellar customer journeys were quickly exposed, further highlighting the gulf between customer-centric challengers and their better-established, less-agile incumbent competitors.

 

Accelerating digital transformation

The urgency of the situation has, unsurprisingly, provided additional impetus for digital transformation efforts. Significant resources are being diverted into building systems that will allow banks and other financial institutions to meet present challenges and to prepare for the future.

There is a risk however that too many of these projects are focused on efficiency gains for the business, rather than meeting the needs of customers. Yes, systems need to be modernised to help keep core operations running - but more importantly, they must deliver on customers needs first.

 

Goodwill evaporates

Having never been legally confined to their homes, most consumers regarded lockdown as a truly novel event. Everyone understood the challenges faced in obtaining and delivering services; businesses benefitted from a high degree of goodwill that helped to paper over the cracks in their provisions.

By the third lockdown people had got into a rhythm. They knew what to expect - and their patience was wearing thin with poor service - especially as some companies were still delivering levels of service comparable to pre-pandemic times.

 

Customer service really does have to take priority

Now, perhaps more than ever, banks need to demonstrate their service capabilities. Providing payment holidays or interest rate freezes will always be welcome, but customers also need to be able to trust that your business can keep delivering, despite the ongoing uncertainty.

This trust is built by strengthening relationships with customers. By ensuring every interaction is optimised for the most appropriate outcome, your customers can see that you are working on their behalf.

Bringing customers into the digital transformation journey achieved through the introduction of customer service management (CSM). Where CRM allowed you to collect and analyse data about your customer accounts, CSM provides mechanisms to action that information automatically.

Where the customer journey has been defined, CSM automation can be used to automate certain activities. This could be as basic as informing chatbot activity on the company website, to assigning incoming queries to the most appropriate team. Every interaction can be logged and analysed, offering insights into how well (or badly) a particular aspect of service is performing.

And like your wider digital transformation program, CSM becomes a process of constant evolution and improvement. The customer journey can be refined, accuracy of messaging improved and new opportunities for proactive, personalised contact identified and leveraged.

Just 12% of customers do not expect a personalised service from their bank for instance. This means that failure to personalise is potentially alienating the vast majority of your customer base – especially if you fail to tailor every interaction, including service, to their preferences and needs.

As you move forwards with your digital transformation efforts, make sure your customer sits at the heart of your plans – and that you have the systems, processes and culture required to carry those changes forward.

To learn more about Customer Service Management and how to enhance your provisions with ServiceNow CSM, please get in touch.

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