In the last twenty years, as more consumers called for their financial institutions to deliver digital transformation, the race focused primarily on bringing account information into the digital space and enabling basic transactions like transfers and bill payment. As the years have passed, both financial institutions and consumers have evolved their goals, wanting an experience where not just basic but also complex activities can be completed within digital banking.
As complexity increases, effective Support becomes a necessity to help ensure a great user experience. We all have encountered scenarios where an app has frustrated us to the point that we abandoned it and likely removed it from our device. Many payments companies will tout that their applications are self-sufficient. Still, if you have ever tried to get assistance (immediate or within 24 hours), you know that is a futile request. Regardless of channel, customer service is a requirement for an enjoyable and productive experience. Let’s discuss why.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same
Digital transformations introduced new technologies to the market. As such, consumers needed to be educated on those platforms until familiarity became second nature. Until a digital user develops familiarity with more complicated products and enhancements, successful adoption requires Support. This fact was further exacerbated by the shift of mature (OK, older) generations to the digital channel during COVID. This means innovative products in and of themselves may not be the pure differentiator; the level of Support for those innovative products plays a critical role as well.
We all know that economy of scale is a critical requirement to recognize bottom-line returns for digital investments. The financial institutions who include Support as part of their digital channel will reduce attrition rates for the channel. Further, satisfied users will post positive app ratings, which serve as a critical information point for potential new users when they consider using an app. Those institutions with high app ratings will be the winners. Since digital has become the dominant financial services channel, the argument can be made that consumers may factor in app ratings when selecting a financial institution.
It’s Not All About AI
Companies like Apple
are working on virtual assistants that help consumers through the most complicated processes of their augmented reality products. Even Xerox
has an augmented reality assistant to coach consumers through complicated setup and repairs. But what happens when the consumer does not understand a step, or the process (through no fault of the consumer) does not work? Even with YouTube videos and online tutorials, when a consumer is stuck, the usage of the product and the reputation of the organization is at risk.
Is there an example of a world-class company that relies on a human support service strategy? You bet. Costco
has created a concierge technical support service designed to assist their members who are stuck when trying to set up or use a purchased item. If a top-flight retail company like Costco finds Support to be profitable, why wouldn’t financial institutions?
The DIY era has not eliminated the need for customer support. In fact, the complex new transformative world has created a demand for even better customer support. While we discussed chatbots
in our recent blog, it’s important to realize that human interaction still has key benefits in the Support arena as well. The use of co-browsing as a Support tool can also be a valuable way to integrate the human component with the technology aspects of delivering effective Support. And let’s also consider the advantages of video banking, where the integration of human interaction and technology can go a long way when there are non-verbal cues. This face-to-face tool can be valuable to when there is a need to identify and react to nuance, irony, and other forms of human expression that can otherwise get lost when trying to interact with members through chatbots for Support.
Back to Basics
In essence, credit unions have always had and continue to maintain first-mover advantage when it comes to service. Their legacy of outranking banks in customer service
by providing a more personal and flexible member experience may be a major factor in the successful digital future of credit unions.
The Emerge digital banking platform offers tools such as co-browsing, real-time text/in-app assistance, and video banking. With over 150 current partner integrations, together we can design a personalized digital Support experience for your members. Delivering a dual package of digital services and warm credit union member support is a recipe for future success.
Communication solutions continue to change. The technology we use to manage our lives is also changing. The need for Support has not changed. If a member says “help me” in the digital channel, can your current support mechanisms fulfill that request? As the digital channel services become more complex (and to some, more bewildering), Support is a critical factor of a successful digital experience. Those who increase the complexity of their offerings without providing built-in Support should be prepared to face the attrition headwinds.