Sept. 22, 2016
Kevin Bottoms, Global Vice President, Telus International
When it comes to building customer trust and expanding customer care, the financial services industry is evolving quickly from a contact center and business process outsourcing perspective.
At the heart of this is the dramatic change in the way customers pay for things. We now see a vast array of options offered to consumers, along with an equally large selection of companies competing to facilitate transactions.
Disruptive industry trends like the digitalization of traditional services and the increasing demands of customer segments such as millennials, small businesses and the underbanked are making it even more critical (and difficult) for financial service providers to garner customer loyalty and trust for the long haul.
The changing customer landscape
Customers are no longer satisfied with the one-size-fits-all model traditionally offered by large financial institutions. Instead, they are looking for a more personalized and engaging approach to managing their finances.
Fintech companies are filling that void by offering innovative solutions that allow customers to own the creation of their experience.
Features like intuitive user interfaces, personalized solutions and real-time recommendations based on interactive data are just a few of the unique characteristics that are redefining the customer experience.
Transactions are now almost entirely in the control of the consumer — an ideal scenario for the overly skeptical millennial or the underbanked customer.
Customer trust begins with elevating the brand experience
Innovative ideas and unique service offerings matter, but it's the elevation of the brand experience throughout the entire customer lifecycle that is critical to achieving long-term success. This means defining what the optimal customer and brand experience should be in the first place.
Unfortunately, when providers need to focus on pushing out new products or more flexible options, customer service can often be overlooked.
Establishing a support ecosystem is generally not a strategic initiative until the organization realizes that it can no longer keep up with demand and the customer experience is starting to suffer.
This is often when organizations turn to outsourcing partners to help them sustain their brand experience by managing their customer support needs, especially during times of hyper-growth and market disruption.
As an extension of the FI's internal operations, it is the outsourcing partner's responsibility to sustain the brand experience, building ongoing trust through each and every customer interaction.
Start with customer support basics
It's important not to lose site of the basics when it comes to customer service. The product itself sets a precedent, and the level of service being delivered should live up to that expectation.
Building a solid service foundation ensures a positive customer experience right from the start while allowing for the introduction of more multifaceted solutions in the near future.
For one of our peer-to-peer payment services clients, we proposed something as simple as implementing an interactive voice response system to address top contact drivers including basic card activations and account balance inquiries.
This tactic alone reduced the number of inbound calls by approximately 6,000 per month — saving time and money for the client and removing potential frustrations for their customers.
This was not a revolutionary support solution; however, the client was simply growing too fast and needed help building basic support systems based on best practices.
Aim for customer experience innovation
Once the basics are taken care of, we can look to more transformative solutions involving customer journey mapping, Six Sigma business process improvement initiatives, and the use of data and technology.
The use of data and technology can be big customer service differentiators. For example, speech analytics allows us to analyze voice-based conversations for key words and phrases including word frequency and voice inflections.
With this data in hand, we can determine primary call drivers, identify customers at risk for leaving and determine opportunities for self-service — all with the end goal of improving the customer experience.
Similar outcomes can be accomplished through text analytics by determining ongoing themes and issues buried within unstructured text-based feedback.
By converting the large number of text-based interactions into useful information, we can better identify opportunities for enhanced loyalty, retention and revenue.
Start the customer experience conversation early
The customer service conversation often begins at a crossroads when the growth of the business is at the expense of the overall customer experience.
Ideally, though, this discussion would take place at the forefront of the planning process, well before the product or service ever reaches the market.
Trust is hard to build and easy to lose, so it's critical to prioritize customer experience and brand leadership right from the beginning.
Telus International is a global provider of customer service, IT, and business process services with more than 25,000 team members around the world, and more than 175 million customer interactions supported annually via voice, email, chat and social media across multiple industries, Telus International enables customer experience innovation through teamwork, agile thinking, and a culture that puts customers first. Learn more at telusinternational.com.