According to a recent study, 70% of customers who contact financial services institutions via traditional channels begin with an online search.
What’s wrong with this picture?
These are people with an active and convenient Internet connection, who know technology well enough to use it. So, what can companies do to keep them from flooding cost-intensive call centers, when they could be using cost-effective DIY digital channels?
Drawing Them (and Keeping them) in the Digital Fold
All customer-facing organizations, and especially those in the financial services sector, have a clear interest in moving customer interactions to self-service digital channels. From the lower costs of digital versus human interactions, to the overall service and brand benefits of less waiting and smoother journeys – organizations are ready to see ROI on their investments in digital customer service.
The challenge, to put it simply, is not only how to draw customers into digital channels, but also how to funnel them back if they stray, and how to keep them there once they’re in.
Here are five useful tips that can help organizations to significantly improve digital transformation rates across all their communication channels.
1. Make your digital channels active – Websites and apps leave the initiative in the hands of the customer. There are hotspots, links, enticing copy and sexy calls to action – but in the end, it’s up to the user to decide whether she or he clicks the button. In order to take back the initiative, companies need to add active components to their websites. These can include pop-ups and chat BOTs that proactively engage the customers and offer them context-relevant menus and service assistance.
2. Don’t limit your contact info to just phone and email – To draw customers into digital, service professionals should consider automating the “Contact Us” section on the company website. Smart engagement tools enable customers to start service calls directly from the website via a “Call Now!” button. Then, instead of diverting customers directly to a phone number, users receive carefully-crafted pop-up menus that reflect the most common use cases. These menus can be built using the same logic as existing IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menus, and offer digital service neophytes a limited amount of easy-to-understand options that gently grow their confidence in using digital channels.
3. Create omnichannel experiences – When the customer service experience is siloed (and it typically is) users quickly learn that interactions must take place, end-to-end, over a specific channel. They understand that if they do start on digital, and get stuck, they’re going to have to start the whole journey over when they reach the call center. So why bother starting?
The solution lies with omnichannel. When designing customer experience programs, companies need to make sure that their communication channels – web, apps, mobile and voice (telephone) – are all interconnected. This allows users the confidence of switching between channels without interrupting engagement.
4. Use customer service calls to launch digital self-service – Most customer service calls today are handled via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. IVR has some self-service capabilities, but it doesn’t come close to the capabilities of digital tools. Moreover, most IVR calls terminate with an agent, regardless of whether the customer’s request is complex or trivial.
But there’s a way to make customer calls a portal to digital engagement. Visual IVR (V-IVR) is a technology that displays a visual interface that extends from the traditional IVR menu into an interactive digital journey with multiple self-service options. When more complex issues make person-to-person interaction unavoidable, user can click the “agent” button and be put in the queue that best suits their query or business need.
5. Keep things simple – Complex menus, with multiple options and sub-options or the use of complicated professional jargon, is an immediate turn-off and a sure way to drive customers to hit the “call now” button. Experience shows that the best way to keep customers in digital channels is to present them with simple, easy-to-understand options. Companies need to spend the time to come up with a short list of the most common processes or service requests – then make them visible and easy to find. Involve the marketing and customer success teams to develop these menus and keep a close eye on statistics in order to know what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.