Customer experience is one of the pillars on which a company’s success is based.
The quality of the journey a customer takes when engaging with a company determines their continued loyalty. For financial organizations, which manage people’s income and monetary assets, the entire customer engagement process should be as simple as possible.
The two top priorities for financial services contact centers are first-contact resolution and ensuring fast response times. In other words, if you call your bank and are referred to several agents – each knowing as little as the last – before getting your answer, how confident would you feel in the customer service of the bank? ‘company ? You would rightly feel like the responsibility is passed to the next agent, with no one demonstrating a decent level of understanding.
In recent years, technology has improved and streamlined these engagements between banks or insurers and their customers. Artificial intelligence, or AI, has had an immediate impact on how customers interact with financial organizations. This allowed agents to spend more time on more qualitative tasks while an AI algorithm helps customers solve their problems, only engaging agents when more complex queries arise.
The industry was initially wary of AI entering the contact center space. Many even feared that AI was a job killer – it obviously wasn’t. AI works in tandem with agents to streamline tedious processes that waste both agent and customer time. On the contrary, the use of technology and AI has been a job facilitator in financial services.
The changing contact center space
The pandemic and its fallout have triggered major shifts in the business and consumer landscape. Financial services, along with countless other industries, have had to reorient their focus to adapt to changing consumer habits and expectations.
Topping the list is the greater use of cross-channel communications. The days when the telephone was the primary means of contact are over. Today, various forms of messaging have taken hold and financial service providers need to be able to exchange seamlessly with each other as needed. Coupled with the need to deliver a seamless customer experience to every caller, these new logistical challenges are making the job of agents significantly more difficult.
AI’s ability to seamlessly provide customers with the right information they need in real time with self-service options means there’s no need to call other services and the role of your customer experience team is much less time-consuming and stressful. It gives agents more information to handle complex issues that self-service can’t solve.
What AI can do for financial services
What we considered AI a decade ago is now ancient history compared to its capabilities today. This evolution means that AI technology is now able to analyze calls and decipher customer impact, including problem resolution, long-term loyalty and ways to improve. AI predictors also allow agents to assess customer behavior on the phone and provide recommendations to agents on how best to handle the issue.
One of the biggest challenges for workers in the financial services industry is the amount of data involved in day-to-day operations, the majority of which is highly sensitive. All of this data needs to be stored somewhere and accessible when needed. Whenever data is manipulated manually by workers, there is a natural risk of human error, which can cause complete chaos later. Not to mention the need for agents to access this real-time data to help process customer queries as quickly and efficiently as possible.
AI works like a human brain, automatically organizing, categorizing and storing large amounts of data. Giving agents the tools to manage and access data, while freeing them up to better focus on delivering superior customer service, means stronger relationships are built with customers and the entire the company benefits from a more efficient process.
When given the opportunity, agents and AI can work together – and everyone involved will benefit.
The future of AI in contact centers
The financial services industry has and always will have significant customer engagement. As the industry evolves throughout the 21st century, AI will play a greater role in business operations. Not only does this allow agents to focus on more complex issues while algorithms process more superficial queries, but AI can also help provide better service to customers by eliminating wait times – which can often seem a lifetime.
The evolution of AI in financial services should not be seen as a threat to contact center agent jobs. Using technology like this will establish better practices for agents and ensure that customers are not waiting to speak to agents if their issue can be resolved sooner.
The industry should view AI as a tool to improve performance and enable greater focus on customer service, rather than leaving agents to fend for customers on hold. However, for complex issues, agents can provide invaluable human engagement. The use of AI will not compete with workers, but rather play a role in solving simple issues raised by customers.
When used effectively, providing AI to agents will help improve the customer experience process. Organizations with customer retention at the top of the list are poised to get a slice of this innovation sooner rather than later.