Exceptional customer service is the backbone of any bank or credit union’s success. In today’s evolving digital landscape, powered by AI and advanced analytics, financial institutions need to be agile, proactive, and always eyeing the next horizon in customer service innovations. 

Are you in a bank or credit union seeking actionable strategies for customer service enhancements? Based on insights from the hundreds of financial institutions we’ve collaborated with, here are eight strategies tailored for the current dynamic environment: 

1. Empower Your Employees with End-to-End Integration

Your frontline staff are the spirit of your financial institution and the main face your customers see and hear. With the rise of various technologies, systems, and platforms needed to do their job, it can be a frustrating experience for employees to provide quality customer service in a timely manner.  It’s time to equip banks and credit unions with streamlined solutions that empower employees to delight customers with first-contact resolution.  Engageware provides the only two-sided customer engagement platform that is secure and compliant and utilizes generative and conversational AI to solve the customer’s need at the first interaction. 
A two-sided customer engagement platform can streamline information search, provide instant answers, and boost both employee morale and efficiency. Banks that fail to adapt to these new relationship banking standards risk frustrating their employees and customers. As Angela Lambert from AurGroup Credit Union has observed: “Our adoption and usage really began when we launched our knowledge management solution. By engaging our employees in this process, we continue to have their involvement and ownership. Our day-to-day operations changed in the sense that there were more efficiencies and more confidence for our employees.”

2. Evolve Consumer Self-Service with AI

Following the trend set by tech giants and the recent digital shift driven by the pandemic, the banking sector must offer a comprehensive digital self-service platform. This includes using AI virtual assistants for immediate query resolution. Your digital interface should feel intuitive and responsive, catering to questions from “What’s my routing number?” to intricate financial queries. Adam Wingate from Members Credit Union explains, “What we’ve found is there is a reduction in the number of secure messages from customers asking for assistance with basic questions. We now understand what members are looking for, so that we can position products and services on our website in a way that’s appealing.”

3. Unify the Omnichannel Experience

A unified experience across all touchpoints is no longer optional. Customers need frictionless experiences that are easy, fast, consistent, and seamless. With the increase in cross-device activities and fluid digital transitions, maintaining consistency and optimizing interactions is crucial. Whether clients are interfacing with voice assistants, mobile apps, or in-branch kiosks, the experience should feel seamless and unified. This also means providing ample access and support across all these channels and letting customers choose what works for them at any moment. An omnichannel model optimizes how information is presented while maintaining consistency and accuracy across all channels. This is already a focus for many banks and credit unions as they work to keep up with the Fintech and Neobanks. A 2022 Capgemini/Efma study noted that many traditional banks are struggling to deliver the personalized, omnichannel experiences customers want — as 75% of banking customers said they are attracted to those new agile competitors as they offer fast, easy-to-use and “fun” products and experiences.

4. Boost Access to Financial Literacy through Digital Adoption

While traditional financial literacy initiatives remain valuable, modern efforts are needed to empower customers to learn through new financial tools and platforms to help them become more savvy consumers. More than half (53%) of the banking leaders we surveyed in our ENGAGE 2023 research report identified adoption as one of their top priorities for building stronger customer engagement in their digital channels. Ensure that you’re empowering staff to be digital advocates, routing customers to the right channels to learn, and providing consistent information across all channels — with a knowledge base that serves customers, agents, and AI from the same source.

5. Balance Human and Digital Collaborations

Find the right balance to ensure a meaningful customer experience across both human and digital channels. Incorporate Fintech innovations and AI-driven financial advice, but don’t forget the human touch. According to McKinsey, despite the move toward digital self-service, a fifth of customers still value interacting with an agent for more personalized expertise, social contact, and human dialogue. Our own 2023 research found that customers who use human-assisted channels in addition to their web or app channels are much more likely to agree that their bank or credit union tries to engage with them to better understand and meet individual needs. This speaks to the flexibility and array of support options customers demand — and financial institutions need to respond in kind.

6. Become a Digital Mentor for Customers

Beyond financing, consumers and small businesses now need guidance on digital tools, e-commerce, and online market strategies. According to our ENGAGE 2023 report, customers expect their primary financial institution to provide additional support in times of economic uncertainty — beyond the obvious products and services offered. In addition to expecting lower fees, competitive rates, and late payment forgiveness, consumers are looking for recession strategy planning (34%) and  1-to-1 financial planning (16%) By offering digital advisory services or partnering with tech providers, banks can strengthen relationships with their consumer and small business clientele.

7. Personalize Customer Journeys

With the power of AI and machine learning, it’s possible to create hyper-personalized experiences for each customer — that engage them and make them feel supported. Our ENGAGE 2023 data found satisfaction with FIs to be high, but engagement at a personal level still needed to be improved. Only 54% of consumers agreed that their bank tries to engage with them to understand their needs, and even fewer (43%) said there was someone at their bank or credit union they always talk to when they need answers to financial questions. But just because a channel is digital doesn’t mean it can’t feel human and customized. Banks can personalize AI and integrate human assistance seamlessly through their digital channels  — such as live support, video chat, and online appointment-making for more consultative support and the human touch.

Customer Engagement: The Critical Factor in Developing and Retaining Customer Relationships

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8. Create a Data Feedback Loop with AI Analytics

With the availability of AI analytics, banks can continuously analyze customer interactions and feedback. This iterative approach allows for real-time service enhancements, ensuring strategies remain responsive to customers’ evolving needs. Our ENGAGE 2023 research found FIs doubling down on data-informed technology to support relationship banking and financial wellness, as well as physical branch investments such as ITMs, banking by appointment, and physical enhancements to turn the branch into advice centers.

Engageware remains at the forefront of revolutionizing customer service solutions for financial institutions. From AI-driven self-service platforms to cutting-edge appointment scheduling tools, we help banks and credit unions navigate the digital landscape of 2023 and beyond.  

Discover how our solutions can propel your institution to greater customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Connect with our team to schedule a tour of the Engageware platform and discover the next-gen of banking customer service. 

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