Article

Jasmeen Gagnon
Jasmeen Gagnon 21 February 2018
Categories Customer Experience

Are Banks Doing Enough to provide Customer Support?

Despite an increase in sophisticated technology-based tools, banks are unable to satisfy their customers with the quality of their services. In 2018, banks must train their employees in human skills, like empathy and critical thinking, to deliver optimal customer support with every interaction.

The answer is a resounding NO!  A recent survey by a leading financial services provider indicates that only 23% of bank customers feel that the banks are meeting their expectations.  Yet another study, this one by Ernst & Young in the Gulf region, shows that 25% of customers want to switch to another financial institution while another 10 percent have already switched banks because of unsatisfactory banking experiences.

So, what’s the problem?

Despite digital tools making banking processes less complex for customers, a number of banks fall short on providing personalized experiences. Now more than ever, consumers expect their financial institutions to understand their needs and fill the personalization gap with clear communication. People expect more than just robotic responses over the phone or chat.

For instance, you have lost your debit card or it is stuck in the ATM and you need to recover it quickly to make an urgent transaction. You call your bank and must suffer through the automated interactive voice response with series of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions before getting any assistance for problem at hand. No matter how alluring the voice of your IVR is and how intelligently scripted the responses are, a customer in this particular situation simply does not have time for that. They would rather talk to a representative who can understand the urgency of their situation and get their issue resolved quickly.

Bank customers simply have little confidence in automated and digitized banking tools that also carry the risk of jeopardizing their financial information. Informed banking clients are well aware of the cybersecurity threats that run parallel to banking services “going online”. Customers want banks to display mutual commitment, trust and dedication - all of which can only be demonstrated by another human being. From fraudulent transactions to becoming a casualty in global cyber warfare, bank staff must counter genuine concerns with information about their current security measures.

Another issue with the basic service elements of banking institutions is that they do not know where to stop.  Customers find banking salespeople annoying, especially those who constantly push products or services that are irrelevant to them.  Bank leaders should implement renewed communication strategies that engage the customers on their terms: at the right time of the day, about the right kind of banking services and through the right kind of channel - via phone, on chat or in-person at their local branch.

How to fix Customer Support in the Banking Sector?

For digital customer service to truly succeed it must provide a decidedly more human experience. When customer interactions become complicated, like the ones that are expected in financial matters, the reliance on quality human interaction becomes even greater.  Banks will have to invest in innovative ways to personalize digital banking tools.  They must also train their customer service representatives to lead customer relations with empathy, and understanding. Emotional intelligence, communication and complex problem solving are all indispensable traits for banking agents. Fortunately, these are all skills that can be nurtured and polished with right kind training programs. Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, says that all humans are born empathetic but as we grow older we lose touch with that ability.

A games-based customer service training session is a great way to re-tap those human skills, such as emotional intelligence, empathy and critical thinking.  In-person training allows participants to conduct role-playing scenes, take part in discussions and interpret real-life customer support scenarios through on-the-spot feedback with a trainer. In addition to group workshops, there are also personalized training options such as online courses, webinars, and self-assessment quizzes that can all boost a customer service agent’s self-development. Post-training sessions, some easy ways to keep flexing those soft skills muscles include:

  • Practicing greeting people by name
  • Listening appreciatively in conversations
  • Envisioning oneself in other people’s shoes

Invest in people skills training with your in-house customer support team and watch customers feel more confident about placing their trust in your bank.

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