As customer expectations change, organizations need to find new ways to provide support and advice that are cost effective and user friendly. In other words, organizations need to innovate – or risk getting left behind.
Video calls or video meetings have become a mainstape of today’s world, with many organizations leveraging them on a daily basis. Generally, when video is used, it is in fully remote contexts. A customer may make first contact on a website or app, with the conversation escalating to video to aid in issue resolution or to provide more in-depth advice.
This is a tried-and-tested approach to video communication and one which customers are increasingly comfortable with. However, there is still untapped potential when it comes to video conferencing.
For example, could the software capabilities be used to provide video-based customer advice in an in-person environment? This is what PostNetz, a subsidiary of Swiss Post, is eager to find out.
The PostNetz test: Video for customer advice
Time and again, Swiss Post has shown that innovation is intrinsic to their way of doing business and delivering the highest level of service possible. And the organization is keen to continue building on this extensive track record.
The PostNetz test of video-based advice in branches, which began at the end of January, will last until summer 2024 in eight branches located in German- and French-speaking Switzerland. Each of these branches will offer video-based advice alongside the traditional face-to-face option.
What is the goal of the test?
The overarching aim of the market test is to determine how likely customers are to accept remote consultations. For PostNetz, the idea is to experiment with new ways of delivering advice in a digital environment – while retaining all the positive aspects of in-person support.
Beyond this, the goal is that providing an excellent video consultation experience in a pleasant atmosphere will reduce wait times and improve the overall customer experience in the branch, making the physical locations more popular, accessible, and expand the range of advice and services available to customers.If the market test proves successful, the Swiss Post Group plans to extend the video advice service to other existing locations and expand its range of remote services.
The advice setup: Simple yet effective
The remote advisory service is available for certain PostFinance services, such as opening additional accounts, ordering cards or payment transaction services such as placing standing orders, payment orders or applying for overdraft limits. Customers can also gain access to remote advice in connection with Swiss Post products and services, such as address changes, mail forwarding or retention, powers of attorney or obtaining extracts from criminal records, or general assistance. The consultation service is to be continuously expanded and extended over the coming months.
The video consultation agents will initially work in two of Swiss Post’s contact centers (Kriens and Fribourg). All contact center agents have been specially trained to ensure a high quality of advice and service in the context of remote consulting.
What results can we expect from this test?
The remote video solution is powered by Unblu, which is already the solution used in the Swiss Post contact center and the PostFinance app. Unblu allows the organization to facilitate customer conversations in a wholly secure environment, allowing them to confidently share sensitive information.
While we will have to wait until the test has been completed, there is a precedent that we can look at. At Unblu, our remote video solutions are already in use in other remote, physical contexts.
Remote branches: The Valiant case
One area where the remote, in-branch video consultation setup has been particularly successful is with Valiant Bank. In 2017, this Swiss-based bank decided to take a bold decision to expand their branch network following a digital approach.
Not only did they open new branches in Romandie, Jura, and East Switzerland, but they transformed the branch experience as they did so. According to Valiant, initial customer expectation interviews showed that they would be open to more digital setups in the physical branches, leading to Valiant developing a digital concierge powered by Unblu Branch.
When customers enter, they are greeted by a remote agent who communicates via a screen. Like with PostNetz, if the customer requires more in-depth support, they are guided to a private room where they can discuss the matter remotely with specialists.
Valiant experienced excellent results by following this approach, with positive customer satisfaction scores, longer opening hours, and reduced waiting times. It also allowed the bank to both reduce costs and drive business growth in the new areas.
The future of customer service
The test may still be ongoing, but one thing is certain – traditional customer service can not remain the same. In both fully remote contexts and in physical locations, the way that customers interact with brands has changed.
For organizations, this is presenting huge challenges. Not only do they need to meet these ever-evolving expectations and personalized experiences, but it needs to be done in a cost-effective way. While physical branches, whether for banks or otherwise, are being used less, they still play a vital role in communities.
Overall, organizations need to provide customer engagement solutions that ensure there is still a personal touch, while streamlining the customer experience. This is the only way to build customer relationships and customer loyalty in such a complex environment.
This is something that PostNetz understands and we are confident that this initiative will prove popular.