6 Ways To Improve Customer Service Experiences in Financial Services
Make no mistake. Customer service operations are going through a major paradigm shift that threatens the survival of many companies.
Nowhere is this paradigm shift more prevalent than in the financial services industry, where it’s created a new realty for businesses.
Financial services firms must adjust to this new reality as quickly as possible. Failure to do so poses a significant threat even to market leaders.
To adapt to this new reality, companies must create exceptional, end-to-end customer experiences using every technique they can.
Creating exceptional customer experiences can help them tap this paradigm shift whether you’re a bank, an insurance company, or another type of financial services firm.
Growing Customer Service Gap
At the heart of this paradigm shift is a growing gap between customer service expectations and the ability of companies to fulfill these expectations.
The Customer Service Scoreboard states the matter clearly: “Most people believe they receive inadequate customer service from most companies today.”
Several factors have contributed to this growing gap. One key factor is the maturation of Generations X and Y. Members of these two generations are becoming major forces in our economy.
These members won’t tolerate bad customer experiences. They also have no hesitation to go public with their dissatisfaction. In fact, 85% will tell others about a bad experience.
Nowhere is this growing gap more evident than in the financial services industry. One consulting firm believes that several degrees of separation exist between banks and customers that really matter.
Whatever the separation, financial services firms must address this growing gap, if they’re going to reach customers that matter.
Making Every Customer Count
The key to closing this gap for financial service firms is simple: Make every customer count. Below are 6 ways you can do that:
- Adopt A Cohesive Customer Experience Management Strategy
Advances in call center technology abound. They enhance your capability for managing interactions, adapting workflows, and expanding the scope of performance evaluations.
These advancements are useless, however, without a customer experience management strategy. It provides direction for the effort, binds everything together, and gets everyone moving in the same direction.
- Focus on customer information
Some financial services firms overlook the importance of customer information. With customer needs changing so much these days, you can’t afford to do that. If you’re a financial service firm, you must utilize customer service information to its maximum.
- Shift from account-centric to customer-centric operations
Shifting from account-centric to customer-centric operations is imperative. This change encourages firms to look at the overall lifetime value of customers, with an eye toward doing two things: (1) maximizing profits and (2) focusing on the highest-valued market segments.
- Invest in Big Data analytics and predictive analytics
Investing in Big Data analytics and predictive analytics can help improve customer management efforts big time. When combined with sentiment analysis, they can help you better understand past customer behavior and more accurately predict future customer activities.
- Modernize legacy applications
Modernizing legacy applications is critical to closing the gap between customer service operations and customer expectation fulfillment. The goal is to create a complete customer-centric view of operations. With it, you can improve customer service activities and operate more efficiently.
- Integrate multimedia capabilities
If your inbound call center depends on voice-only systems, you must make a change to stay competitive. These systems were designed for a by-gone era when the only option the customer had was to call you.
Things are different today. Members of Generation Y and X are media agnostic. They’ll use e-mail, Web chat, IM, social media, and so on to contact you. You need to provide these options in your call center.
Don’t let the growing customer fulfillment gap take you down. Use the 6 ways of improving customer experiences described above—as well as any others you discover—to help boost customer satisfaction and improve both your upsell and your cross-sell rates.
This effort in turn will help transform a financial services firm from an also-ran to a dominant market leader.
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