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Consistency is key: Ways to improve customer service in banks

8 MIN READ

There is no one way to improve customer service in banks. Customers have diverse needs and can contact banks across many different touch points, making it challenging to offer a consistent service at all times.

When this fails, it leads to a fractured journey and irritating pain points for customers.

The problem of uneven experiences

It is common for financial services institutions to have uneven experiences across the banking journey, with certain organizations excelling in one area more than another. For example, traditional banking institutions spent years looking in envy at the sleek, digital-first customer experiences that fintech companies and neobanks offer.

And there is a good reason for this. Not only do 60% of consumers want to transact with single-platform financial institutions, but the user-friendly design of fintech companies is attracting lots of younger customers, particularly millennials.

Developments in traditional banking

To combat this, traditional banks invested huge amounts of money and resources in their digital banking transformation initiatives or partnership deals. Nowadays, every bank has an app, a website, and an ever-expanding number of digital tools to offer customers.

These were much-needed developments, and financial institutions should continue investing in these areas. But they cannot come at the expense of traditional, authentic customer service interactions.

Take for example the story of a man whose account was randomly frozen and he had a huge problem trying to get in touch with his fintech provider to resolve it. Yes, the app works phenomenally well – until it doesn’t. By focusing solely on the app experience, it can lead to failings on the more traditional customer service end.

Traditional banks are also lacking

It isn’t just fintechs that are failing in this area. Incumbent banks should have a dedicated history of offering personalized and excellent customer service experiences. They have a solid place in local communities and brand recognition that should inspire confidence.

So, why are they also struggling so much to maintain trust across Europe? By all accounts, it isn’t because they are lagging behind on the quality of their digital banking and mobile banking experiences. Instead, it is due to a perceived lack of empathy and dependability.

Key areas of focus for customer service success

What this tells us is that success in banking customer service is about offering an even and human experience, with access to the right level of support at all times, across all touchpoints.

There are three key areas that banks should focus on to achieve this.

Internet banking

When we talk about internet banking, we refer to online banking using the bank’s website. Whether you are a current banking customer or simply browsing the website, you should get quick access to the support you need.

Prospective customers

Imagine you are a prospective customer who is interested in opening a bank account. You would want to look around the page at your convenience and get as much information as possible on your own before getting in touch with the bank.

This would mean having access to strong self-service tools like Conversational AI chatbot channels. The customer can ask questions and the bot will draw from the organization’s LLM to offer swift, accurate responses and workflows to help the customer resolve their issue or achieve their aim.

Conversational AI chatbot channels.

And, if at any point an agent needs to step in they can see the entire conversation the prospective customer has had with the chatbot, giving them full context to pick up where they left off.

Current customers

When it comes to the current customer base, it is essential that the same tools work safely and securely behind authenticated areas. Not only will this allow the customer to self-serve on a higher number of issues, but the conversations will be stored (according to regulations) so customer service agents can get a full interaction history even after weeks or months.

This means that when a customer requires a real person, the agent can offer the correct level of support available. For example, the Live Chat function isn’t enough to address the customer query, the agent can escalate to a Video & Voice call or start a Co-Browsing session.

Raiffeisenbank: Boosting sales through service

The Prague-based bank Raiffeisenbank embraced these conversational tools as part of their strategy to deflect phone calls and ease the burden on contact centers.

But beyond managing to maintain strong customer satisfaction ratings and double agent productivity, the superior service quality directly led to a fourfold increase in digital sales conversions after nine months.

Mobile banking

Mobile banking is having its moment in the sun as it has overtaken internet banking in popularity. This is no surprise given that mobile banking apps are increasingly reliable, convenient, and offer instant access to a huge range of functions or products.

But the quality of the service doesn’t always live up to its internet counterpart. Every channel and touchpoint that is available on the website must also be available in the ebanking app, whether Conversational AI, Video & Voice, or Co-Browsing.

Instead, it’s important to have a separate Co-Browsing tool that has been specifically designed for an app environment, otherwise known as a Co-Apping.

PostFinance: Consistent service excellence

The Swiss postal service found that providing a consistent experience across channels was a challenge. After first implementing Co-Browsing and Live Chat into their website, they realized that they would need to take similar steps to bring the app experience in line.

This meant turning to Co-Apping, along with other enhancements.

In-person bank branch banking

With so much emphasis placed on digital channels, it can be easy to put the in-branch service experience to one side. In many ways, this is understandable as trends show a consistent fall in branch numbers over recent years.

Yet financial services customers do still value having access to a local branch, particularly if they are going to use it for more complex tasks. In fact, one survey found that 82% of customers believe that having access to a local branch is “extremely or very important” – even if they plan to use it less in the future.

Banks are in danger of losing their branch network and a vital touchpoint as a result. The only answer to remain at the heart of their local communities is to develop a model that is cost-effective and profitable.

Valiant Bank: Transforming the branch experience

This is exactly what the Swiss retail bank Valiant Bank did when faced with falling in-branch footfall. By embracing a hybrid approach, Valiant was able to extend its opening hours by adding a digital reception. This meant that one agent could serve multiple locations remotely, which cut costs while guaranteeing quality customer service.

The approach was so successful that Valiant was able to open branches in new locations, improving their profitability and better serving the local community.

Consistency across customer touchpoints

To provide an exceptional customer experience, banks must meet customer expectations across the entire customer journey. This is the main challenge that the banking industry is facing, after having invested so much in developing a digital experience that meets customer demands. 

But ensuring a personalized experience means embracing the best of digital platforms and artificial intelligence alongside more traditional channels. To achieve this, the customer experience strategy must ensure consistency whether the individual reaches out via the website, mobile banking app, or in a physical branch. 

Unblu offers a robust solution that blurs the lines between digital and in-person experiences. Our Unblu Spark platform allows banking services to provide a consistent omnichannel customer experience that boosts customer loyalty and improves customer retention rates. 

Unblu Branch, on the other hand, is a hybrid solution that ensures positive experiences in physical branch environments – that are also profitable. 

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