Customer Experience and Design

A Look At Customer Service In Financial Services [With Case Studies]

Data and technology play a significant role in the future of finance; however, many tried-and-true best practices are still critical for winning (and keeping) customers. We have seen an incredible change in the financial services industry, especially as it pertains to the customer experience. Whether through robo-advisors, better user design, or chatbots, customers have become accustomed to and expect top-notch customer service.

According to SoFi, its customers, whom they refer to as HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet), are heavy users of technology and want a pure online experience. However, interestingly enough, what SoFi found is that customers want an online experience until they do not want one. And when they do not, they want to pick up a phone and speak to a person.

While the company was the first to enable homebuyers and those looking to refinance their mortgages to secure personalized loan rates and be prequalified via their smartphone, tablet or online, it still receives 3,500-4,000 inbound calls every day. The company is continuing its efforts to determine how the better use of technology can trim the number of calls into its call center, though it realizes that analog interaction is critical to success. It is about creating a community. In fact, 10% of SoFi’s members attend its offline events, such as dinners and singles (dating) meetups. The more interaction the company has with its members, whether online or offline, the stronger the relationship becomes.

According to SoFi, its Net Promoter Score (NPS), an index ranging from -100 to 100 that measures a customer’s willingness to recommend a company’s products or services to others, runs as high as 90. To put this in perspective, an October 2016 benchmark study from the Temkin Group indicated that the average NPS for banks was 32, with an average of 40 for investment firms. Auto dealers outperformed every other group, with an average of 48.

Louise Pentland, executive vice president, chief of business affairs and legal officer at PayPal, says that the average person cringes when they contact a call center, mainly because of their past experiences and a desire to simply find answers themselves. While organizations always want to create a situation in which people do not have to call in, having people calling into a call center can provide an opportunity to create a very positive experience.

For example, someone might call and ask why they were rejected for a loan. When this happens, the company can be transparent, let the applicant know the exact reasons and tell them how to remedy the issue. If an unpaid cable bill is dragging them down, suggest that they pay it and return in a month for a loan. It is about turning a frustrating experience into a positive one and helping people get value out of their calls. This can lead to big wins for everyone.

Companies can leverage offline communications in other unique ways. SoFi found that calling people to let them know a personal loan was about to be disbursed, and asking them to confirm that they would pay back the loan, had a big impact on credit performance. No underwriting. No analytics. A simple call like this shows the value of analog interactions.

The bottom line is that firms, like banks, must figure out how to make the experience better. Credit Suisse suggests that 90% of customers do not want to change financial services providers. However, if customers are not getting what they want and traditional financial institutions can’t figure out how to adapt, they will lose the stickiness of the customer.

One bank that understands the need to quickly adapt to new methods of doing business is TD Ameritrade. The company uses a combination of chatbots and live chat to help customers. In a press release, Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer, said, “Our goal is to use the power of technology to make finance more personal. When it comes to something as personal as money, people often have complex questions that only a human can answer. But, they also have lots of questions about simpler things, like where to find an IRA statement or how to reset a password, and AI gives an intelligent assistant that can answer those things anytime, anywhere. This allows our employees to focus on the human element, while our technology can make the simpler things just that – simple.”

Using anecdotes and commentary from company executives, we wrote a guide that explores the state of the financial services industry as it pertains to the impact that data and technology have on innovation, regulatory and compliance, customer service, and human labor. From these very examples and our active work in the industry, we highlight several trends that we expect to continue to transpire in 2018.

Download the guide

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Eugene Sefanov

Sr. Marketing Manager, Industries, Perficient

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