Customer experience: the bigger picture

The Australian financial services industry has faced significant disruption with the pandemic. The rise in cashless transactions, no longer needing to set foot in a bank branch, emergence of new market segments such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) and greater use of mobile banking has caused organisations to re-evaluate their transformation strategies and modernise quickly.

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With this comes a more multi-channel approach to engaging with customers - based on their preference - and pressure to modernise and deliver a frictionless and connected customer experience (CX).

“[Consumers] seek not just seamless experiences but also empathetic and high-quality service no matter what device or channel they are on.”

Recent Australian research by Genesys on how consumers value customer experience found 69 per cent believe a company is only as good as its customer service. On top of this, in six months consumers have increased their engagement on digital channels such as live webchat (from 38 per cent to 43 per cent), chatbots (from 21 per cent to 26 per cent) and email (from 41 per cent to 44 per cent) to resolve issues.

They seek not just seamless experiences but also empathetic and high-quality service no matter what device or channel they are on.

As consumers become increasingly digitally savvy, they expect financial organisations to be a part of their daily lives and support their every financial need while providing unprecedented levels of convenience and personalisation. It is imperative organisations get to know their customers as individuals - not serial numbers - and communicate with them accordingly. To achieve this, they should also have a deft digital focus and think about what technologies can be put in place to create more empathetic and personalised interactions.

A holistic view of customer experience

To understand what makes customers tick and why they are contacting providers, financial services organisations should take the new year as an opportunity to step back from examining individual interaction touchpoints and look at the bigger picture.

Rather than focusing on one specific function such as billing, on-boarding or customer service calls, they should bring together vast data to create a singular view of the customer experience - across all parts of the business.

Genesys research found two-in-three consumers feel companies collecting data on customers improves the overall service experience. For example, combining historical customer and employee data, third-party data and behavioural data will help tell a more holistic story to serve customers better and allow them to feel more connected.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities can also enable a better understanding of what outcomes customers are trying to achieve and why. This equips organisations such as banks or insurance providers to create the consumer experience from the point of the user and be equipped with the right answers. Beyond this, it also provides a more agile, personalised service that aligns with their communication preferences.

Foster two-way communication

Engagement through phone-based customer service from brands is still a preferred method for many Australians. In fact, Genesys found one-in-10 admitted to calling customer service just to hear a human voice. This has created a clear need for organisations to create a more interactive dialogue with their customers in 2022, no matter what channel is being used.

Using tools such as chatbots that allow interactive conversations to persist over time gives consumers the freedom to reply when it’s convenient for them, be it in-person or on the go. This enables a more efficient and free-flowing conversation between agent and customer and removes any frustrations during the interaction.

Coupling this with AI will also allow businesses to monitor the customer journey in real time and provide tailored and customer-centric experiences when appropriate.

Utilise partners, drive continuous innovation

There’s no denying the goal posts are constantly moving for organisations when it comes to delivering a seamless customer experience. As banks and financial services providers focus on enriching the customer journey by offering ease and accessibility and, more intuitive digital experiences and customised benefits, it’s crucial they have the right technology partners in place to bring together traditional and new-age channels that deliver advanced forms of personalisation.

For example, choosing the right cloud platform for the contact centre will enable organisations to gain a single customer view across phone, email, chat, text and social channels. Having a platform that integrates into existing back-office systems will also create a strong foundation for further transformation projects.

With 44 per cent of consumers seeking empathetic customer service compared to a speedy resolution, factors such as AI, voice activated assistants and facial recognition help to build trust with consumers through more human-like interactions.

Getting CX right with customer-centricity

By focusing on the entire customer experience, building a more interactive dialogue and tapping into a rich technology ecosystem, organisations can keep customers front and centre in 2022 while comfortably staying the course on continued innovation. It also means digitally transforming from inside out and having transformation CX-led.

In the recent Connected Customer Experience study, besides retailers who provide the best customer service, banks and financial services providers, pharmacies, insurers and cellular providers, are other industries consumers identify as having good customer service.

As consumers seek meaningful relationships with brands, there is a significant opportunity for financial service providers to differentiate themselves through delivering Experience as a Service every step of the way. This can be achieved through a powerful combination of tailored products, customer-centric approach and empathetic experiences, right from the very first touchpoint and interaction.

Understanding the digital preferences of consumers and how their lives can be enriched through technology and creating an integrated pathway to serve effectively, efficiently and with empathy will define the new battleground for winning businesses and CX this year.

Mark Buckley is Vice President for Australia and New Zealand at Genesys

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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