Visual Customer Service Can Be Transformative For Banks


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Banking and financial services is a complex business. Service providers need to offer great products with competitive rates and all within the rules enforced by industry regulators.

Compliance is not an option.

This does affect the customer experience, but in most cases financial service companies have not been able to do anything – the requirement to read out terms & conditions on a customer service call apply to everyone. It’s hard to stand apart from the crowd when the rules apply to every company in the industry – traditional retail brand or challenger alike.

But is this really just a failure of imagination?

What are the most difficult customer interactions for financial service companies? Let’s assume that most of these interactions will be taking place on a phone call:

T&Cs: any customer interaction in a regulated environment like banking will require the T&Cs agreement – it’s unavoidable and will require a couple of minutes where the agent reads the terms & conditions (or plays back an automated script) as the customer sits, frustrated, waiting to get on with the call.
Audit trails: the customer disagrees about a service they signed up for, or agreed to, and the agent has no information on when or how the customer signed up for the service so the discussion ends up as a circular argument where one says ‘I am not paying for this service’ and the other says, ‘but you asked for it!’
Completing forms: almost any banking or financial service requires a process of form-filling to obtain details about the customer and their requirements. It could be for a mortgage or auto loan – the forms are often lengthy are fairly detailed and it is easy fo them to confuse the customer.
Questions about a policy or service: where the customer has a question about an ongoing service, perhaps they want to pause their mortgage repayments for 3 months – they are looking at their mortgage agreement and don’t understand a specific clause.

These are all common situations. In fact, these examples describe most customer service encounters. A customer wants to apply for a product, they have a question or doubt about an existing product, or they think that a mistake has been made.

What connects all these situations?

They are not easy to describe in words, yet the voice phone call is the most common channel used for banking customer service. T&Cs on a voice call are a nightmare – several minutes of an agent just reading out a legal text while the customer has to sit and listen because the regulator says so.

Imagine struggling with page three on a mortgage application and asking the customer service agent for advice. How can they give insightful advice without seeing what the customer is doing and how they completed the preceding sections of the form? How long would a call like this take? Do you just start from question one on the form and read out each answer and hope the agent can figure out why it isn’t working out?

Let’s think about this in a different way. Imagine the Amazon website without product photos. How would that work? Would you be able to confidently buy a product without ever seeing it? Would you sit and read a 1,000 word description of a toy car for a child or could a couple of photos replace all those words?

Isn’t this what we are forcing on customers in customer service interactions that really need visual interaction? We force the customer to use only words because the phone call is the only option?

What if a customer calling their bank could switch from a voice conversation into a live visualization of what they can see. Instead of trying to describe what they are doing on a credit card application, they can just say to the agent ‘see, that’s the error message I keep getting when I type in my details…’

Sounds like a game changer?

That’s because it is. We all know this instinctively. The online retail example makes it obvious. Nobody would shop at Amazon if the website looked like a text adventure game from 1982. But that is still how most banks are managing their customer service engagement in 2024!

Switch your 3-minute T&Cs monologue into an agent saying ‘can you see the T&Cs on your screen now – just click the button when you are OK…’ Allow the customer to show exactly what they have a question about or share the form they are struggling to complete. Interact visually with your customer and resolve their questions in minutes rather than drawing out the interaction to 45-minutes simply because it takes so long to describe what is happening on both sides of the conversation.

If you are still helping customers to manage complex financial products with nothing more than words on a voice call then your customer experience can never be excellent. It’s like managing customer interactions with both hands tied behind your back. Free your agents and let them interact visually with your customers – both your customers and agents will appreciate it.

Innovation such as secure co-browsing will be normal for banking services in the near future, but which banks will be the leaders in embracing a new world of visual customer experience?

Dianne McCoubrey
I'm based in Ontario, Canada and focused on CX and BPO technology. My current position is the Vice President of Global Business Development for Grypp Corp Ltd. Grypp is a digital experience solutions company focused on providing visual customer engagement technology to contact centers, globally. i have a background in technology sales, particularly in transformative retail technologies.


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