Kyle Christensen
Kyle Christensen

Invoca study shows banks need ‘omnichannel perspective’

A new report from call center intelligence firm Invoca questions some assumptions many have about consumer banking preferences.

State of the consumer banking experience analyzes the responses from 1,285 customers who had taken out a loan of at least $15,000 in the last three years to better understand the impact marketing and customer experience have on their choice of financial institution.

Kyle Christensen
Kyle Christensen

Banks need to have an omnichannel perspective if they are to foster trust with existing and prospective customers. That means having effective in-house staff, mobile apps, chatbots, call centers, websites and text/SMS services. Seventy-six percent of respondents used at least two different methods in an average month and 37 percent employed at least three.

That makes it a challenge to provide a consistent omnichannel experience, but one which is crucial, Invoca senior vice president of marketing Kyle Christensen said.

“Financial institutions face a moment of truth after spending so much to optimize the website, develop a social media presence and have a positive user experience.

“All of that energy is directed to getting someone to call. What if you can’t deliver when they call?”

When it comes to complicated decisions offline activity continues to dominate, Mr. Christensen said. When evaluating the merits of a financial institution, 62 percent either visit a branch in person or phone them as their first step.

When researching loans, customers are calling multiple banks:

  • 84 percent make at least one call
  • 72 percent make at least two
  • 26 percent make at least four

The quality of service on those calls is crucial, because 65 percent said they were more likely to take out a loan from an institution they spoke with on the phone, a rate increasing to 73 percent when the loan amount hits six figures. A good percentage (33) are calling for advice on complex matters while 24 percent want a quick answer or to avoid completing a web form.

Capturing that information is also important because it affects the quality and consistency of future customer interactions. We all know the experience of calling an institution and talking to three different people and repeating ourselves. Consumers are less tolerant of such behavior than they were in the past as 63 percent cite multiple transfers and 56 percent say having to repeat themselves makes them less likely to choose that financial institution.

The reverse is that 84 percent say getting routed to the right person helps steer them to that bank and 80 percent appreciate having someone know their existing relationship  at the beginning of the call.

Invoca office
Invoca office

The quality of those calls are a significant determinant of the applicant’s bank selection. Should that experience be negative, 56 percent are likely headed elsewhere, while 26 percent will write a bad online review. If the call is good, 57 percent are likely to choose that institution, 51 percent would refer others, 37 percent would write a good review online and 28 percent would say nice things on social media.

Customers rate personalization most important for branch (59 percent) and in-person interactions (54) and are more tolerant of impersonal electronic communication. Three in four say in-person and phone service are the most effective ways for banks to build relationships with them.

Mr. Christensen shared the experience of a client bank. Invoca worked with them to determine how people got to the bank’s website and what information they consumed once there. That helps provide tailored content based on search queries. That information, along with data gleaned from telephone calls, is passed along to an information specialist before they answer a call.

When it comes to loans, those calls can last a spell – 63 percent last at least five minutes while 29 percent go for at least 10. Those percentages rise to 70 and 33 respectively when the loan amount surpasses $100,000.

Expect the effective financial institution to be adept at both electronic and traditional communication methods. Eighty percent of people have used a banking app at some point, with 55 percent (60 percent of millennials) reporting weekly app use.

But when matters are complex or sensitive those interactions quickly go offline. Apps are most used of rebalance checks and transfers, but customers want telephone or in-person communication for reporting fraud, statement clarification, loan evaluation and account openings.

Take it all together and the message is be good at both the modern and traditional, Mr. Christensen said.

“Financial institutions ignore the phone at their own peril.”

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