John Thompson

Managing the customer experience tug-of-war in the Digital Age

Now more than ever, banking and financial institutions are torn between offering new, digital-forward customer solutions that tech savvy customers crave – which will ultimately keep them competitive in the market – while continuing to appease more traditional customers. Developing the right customer experience (CX) strategy in today’s business landscape is a delicate balance!  

Providing seamless experiences is a must for any business, but for brands in the financial sector there’s an added layer of challenges because consumers are particularly sensitive about how they prefer to communicate with the brands that manage their accounts. Although updates to online and mobile banking features would likely be welcome changes to tech savvy customers, PWC’s 2017 Digital Banking and Consumer Survey found that 54 per cent of consumers still prefer to interact with their bank through physical channels. 

What does this mean for the banks competing in the Digital Age? 

It certainly signals the CX tug-of-war that banks and financial brands are currently caught between. While it may seem difficult to meet the needs of both digitally-savvy consumers who opt for online interactions and traditional consumers who prefer interactions with real human beings (say over the phone as opposed to a chatbot), here are a two things financial brands should consider when it comes to managing the diverse preferences of customers:

Be targeted in your approach to digital

Whether it’s the roll out of a new app or financial chatbot, the main purpose of any new offering should be that it meets the demands of your user-base and that it offers seamless experiences. When evaluating potential digital solutions, consider honing in on a service that will improve your brand’s business operations. For example, if the majority of your users prefer to communicate with your brand via online channels – a self-service CX strategy would be practical. Whether it’s an extensive FAQ page on your website or public forums where consumers can troubleshoot issues and get quick answers from peers, self-service channels allow consumers to interact with your brand in a way that’s most convenient for them. 

Human-to-human interaction can improve digital acceptance

When launching a new technology feature, such as a chatbot, keep in mind that this technology should improve value and relevance between your brand and customers — because even the most thought out and well-planned digital deployments can experience hiccups at the commencement of a new offering. 

In order to get widespread user acceptance and adoption for you new technology, incorporating the human touch alongside technology is often a key component. This is where contact center agents play a critical role in driving the adoption of a digital solution. 

Today’s agents are more equipped with the knowledge of a brand, their customers and digital offerings than ever before. Agents are also armed with new tools that can help them efficiently service the requests of consumers in real-time while improving their approach to conversations with each inbound call. New technology, like speech recognition software that immediately provides feedback to an agent, is being used across contact centers today to educate agents in real-time on areas of performance improvement during the call. 

When contact center agents are able to quickly understand a client’s issue and offer empathic support in real time, the consumer is more likely to remain loyal to the brand because they got the service they needed and were offered personalized solutions from a live human. 

Finding a balance between offering digital solutions while upholding the value and important role of human interaction is key for any financial brand looking to improve customer experiences in the digital age. Brands that understand their customers’ wants and needs and deliver services that meet them will be the ones to excel in a competitive market — not because they simply deployed digital solutions, but because they deployed the right solutions that mattered most to their unique audience.