Exceptional customer service: Communication 2.0 for the BFSI industry

May 30, 2019

Finance, as an industry, has seen an interesting evolution in India. And so has the communication strategy. From verbal contracts to SMS alerts, we’ve come a long way. The communication plan of a financial institution must be built to suit the context of customer expectations and experience.

A financial institution’s communication strategy is vital to determine its profitability and efficiency. Most of them have outsourced marketing and customer communication functions, so it is all the more difficult to have direct control over customer experience.

As BFSI and NBFCs grow, customer experience is and will continue to be the most important differentiator in what makes customers choose one financial institution over the other. However, financial institutions continue to use communication systems they are comfortable with and not the one that is in sync with their customer expectations.

This post talks about why the BFSI sector needs to rethink their communication infrastructure and how they can make it better by simply tweaking their existing communication strategy.

The status quo of BFSI customer communication

  • Outsource customer support center and have no visibility into customer communication
  • Little to no engagement during the customer lifecycle journey
  • Do basic personalisation
  • Have scattered customer interactions
  • Are pained by the disadvantages of traditional communication systems
  • No feedback from the customers
  • Unprepared for the challenges that come with millennial customers

Customer experience as a competitive battleground

With so much competition around price and product, the banking industry is turning to customer experience (CX) as the competitive differentiator that sets their brand apart. A study by Gartner shows that 81% of brands expect to be competing on the basis of CX by 2020.

And one of the often quoted areas of improvement for this industry is concerning customer communication. A survey finds that almost 63% of the survey population would consider switching banking providers if communications don’t meet their expectations.

These numbers tell us that CX matters more than ever before. Focusing on communication and optimizing it for customers isn’t a ‘nice to have’ anymore. It’s a must-have.

How can banks refine what they’re already doing in terms of customer communication?

The answer is cloud telephony

From a customer’s point of view, the interaction with your call center agent is seen as a medium to solve their problem. It is not a point of escalation rather a channel of communication to find a remedy. This is where the customer’s experience is shaped.

Therefore, it is crucial that the control is with the bank to shape this experience to remember. Let’s understand how cloud telephony can help shape exceptional customer experience in different stages of the customer journey.

Customer acquisition with cloud telephony

BFSI is slowly moving away from the traditional customer acquisition methods involving the middle agents. While figuring out a customer acquisition means that works for them, the importance of calls and SMS in acquiring new customers cannot be overlooked.

Click to call for prompt conversions: Including a Click-to-Call button your website & app is proven to increase sales conversions by 18%. This means that the customer will be connected immediately with your call center to clear queries before the final checkout, resulting in instant conversions.

Toll-free number to improve financial literacy: Financial literacy is abysmally low in India- 76% of the adult population is unable to grasp basic financial concepts. It is hard to sell to people who lack knowledge of the product you are selling. Therefore, the onus is on the banks to sell in a language the customers understand. BFSI and NBFCs can advertise a centralized toll-free number where customers can call to get their basic FAQs answered. This can also be a part of the CSR activity and bolsters its brand image.

Missed call for registration: One of the simplest ways to acquire prospects from the non-traditional channels is to advertise a number and ask them to give a missed call on the number. This can be different for different portfolios and products like insurance, mutual funds, credit cards, etc. Calls received are trackable, which makes it easy to keep a track for the goals v/s achievements.

Dynamic caller ID to improve call pick up rates: Most of us do not pick up calls from numbers outside of our home state anymore. In a diverse country like India, calling from a number from their region and in their regional language helps to connect with the customers like no other. With Exotel, you can personalise the caller ID based on your customer location. Dynamic Caller ID improves the pick-up rates and consequently sales conversions by 20%.

Automated application status tracking: Automate the application communication to receive real-time updates via SMS. Keep the customer informed of their application status at all times proactively.

Improved customer engagement

Financial institutions do not spend nearly as much resources for customer engagement as they do for acquisition. However, engagement is important to ensure that the customer does not move to your competitor.

Smart IVR for FAQs: Once the customer is onboard, ensure that they can reach you 24/7. One of the ways to do this without breaking the bank (pun intended) is to automate the frequently asked questions about their account, new products, reaching their RM, etc.

Automated calls & SMS for product launch information: Whenever a new product- say a new insurance scheme- is launched, trigger automated calls to your customers informing them of the same and how they can reach you. This is the most time & cost effective way to relay the information to all your customers at once.

Automated SMS reminders: Loan payment reminders, credit card payment reminders, etc. can be automated so that the customer does not miss their deadline. This ensures that your institution can run without any operational hiccups resulting from payment delays.

Automated feedback and surveys: Use automated calls to solicit feedback from customers every once in a while. This improves the customer’s confidence in your institution.

CRM integration for personalized communication: Integrating telephony with your CRM ensures you can personalize communication that goes beyond addressing customers by just their first name.

 Boosts customer retention

It is expensive to acquire new customers compared to retaining the existing ones. Here are a few key areas which can impact customer retention positively:

Sticky agent: With this Exotel feature, calls get routed to the same agent who handled the query previously in the case of a callback. For a customer, this means that they do not have to repeat the problem to a new agent all over again. It improves customer experience and enhances agent productivity as they can get right down to work.

Automate call queues: One of the main reasons why customers hesitate to call a bank call center is because of the endless call queues. By implementing Smart IVR for your telephony system, you will be able to be present for your customers 24/7 without adding to the employee headcount.

Call recordings: Monitor agent conversations with customers to ensure etiquette and decorum is maintained. The recordings can also be used for conflict resolution.

Monitoring agent productivity: Currently banks struggle with obtaining the proof of attempt or proof of persistence to monitor agent productivity. With all the calls being trackable and recorded, the proof of persistence can be easily obtained.

Cloud migration is increasingly becoming the yardstick to assess an institution’s progress. Even the traditional sectors like banking are migrating their operations to the cloud. A report by Financial Insights suggests that the biggest global banks save $15 billion, cutting technology infrastructure costs by 25 percent with cloud adoption. It is evident that moving customer communication to the cloud not only has tangible benefits like savings, but also other significant benefits like enhanced operational productivity. What’s more– it can exist alongside your existing on-premise technology. Best of both worlds, if that’s your thing.

We hope that this post was helpful in assimilating how banks can deliver great customer experience at every stage of the customer journey. If you’d like to talk to us directly or need some more information, please write to marketing@exotel.in. 

Written By
Swathi is a content marketer at Exotel. She is passionately establishing Exotel's voice in the form of content. She is also a self-proclaimed champion of Oxford comma.

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