Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business services provider.

Managing finances can be intimidating, even more so when your customers may feel like they are dipping into a murky pool of confusing terms, multiple layers and inconsistent results. Too many companies blur the lines even further by creating needless hoops through which customers must maneuver in order to get what they need. Although the financial sector has the added complexities of compliance and security, there are ways in which customer service processes can be streamlined.

How many times do I have to tell you?

In financial services, clumsy identity verification processes in the contact centre can contribute to heightened customer frustration and poor CX. Personalised service goes out the window if your customer has to identify themselves 5 times during one interaction or have to answer numerous arbitrary security questions to prove their identity before they can get assistance.   

Introducing a biometric method of speech recognition such as voice authentication can help customers prove their identity quicker when calling the contact centre, and also reduce the risk of identity theft. Instead of using passwords or security questions, voice authentication enables customers to use their individual voices as the unique identifier, providing a much more seamless and efficient customer service experience.

Keep customers in the loop

Moreover, the customer profile should be updated in real time so that contact centre agents can always see exactly where the customer is in a specific process. For example, a customer may be trying to open an account, involving multiple steps such as sharing identity docs, proof of address, salary slips and so on. Without visibility, a customer may be unaware that a document has been lost and needs to be resubmitted unless they follow up, for example. If all the information is centrally collated, and the customer is frequently updated and informed of progress every step of the way, hiccups can be avoided, duplicate effort reduced and customer expectations managed effectively.

Reduce everyone’s admin

People are generally disorganised in their approach to self admin – who keeps all of their important documentation in one place? In order to do financial admin, many people have to scramble, searching for documents or heading to a copy shop to print them out. With so much of our lives being lived online, it can be tedious to translate it back into paper again, or even find physical certified copies of important documents. Many financial institutions also accept a combination of physical and digital submissions to complete a specific process – keeping track of this can be difficult not just for the customer, but the financial services company too, often leading to abandoned or incomplete applications.

There is however technology available that can resolve many of those issues, such as apps that be used for digital applications and remote scanning of documents. An organisation could, for example, equip their store card canvassers with a tablet and an app that allows them to approach future customers directly (at a taxi rank, for instance). Potential customers could complete an application process and submit documents on the spot rather than queueing to complete this in store. This isn’t just more convenient for the customer, it is more efficient for businesses too.

24-7 financial services

That last point is significant – when so much of our lives are online, why force customers to go into a branch or store at certain times? If your processes can be translated to online processes, you’re making it easier for your customer to do business. Better yet, automated processes and self-service options (such as chatbots) can operate around the clock, reducing the need for human involvement. That’s a fantastic saving on costs for your company, with the added benefit of enhancing efficiency and CX for your customers. They no longer have to ask for time off work to do business with you, they can do it according to their own preferences – even this means after hours at their leisure.

Ultimately, any processes that require customers to complete multiple tasks and steps have the potential to be cumbersome. Financial services interactions in particular can be complex, which is why it is so important to make it as easy and enjoyable as possible for customers to apply or purchase these products and services. Streamlining your customer service processes won’t happen overnight, but any measures you introduce will put your business straight onto the path of enhanced customer satisfaction and significantly improved CX.

Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business services provider.

PERSONAL FINANCE