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Member Service Experience for Mobile Banking Apps

The Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Household Economics and
Decisionmaking (SHED) from 2017 revealed that about half of U.S. adults
with bank accounts had used a smartphone to access those accounts during
the previous year. In 2019, eMarketer predicts that nearly 120 million
smartphone users in the U.S. will use their bank’s mobile app at least
once per month for transactions. And Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study
found that mobile banking apps ranked third in most-used (at 31 percent
measured by top two ranked responses), behind only social media apps (at
55 percent) and weather apps (at 33 percent).

These findings leave no doubt: Even traditional industries or sectors
like banking are heavily digitizing and people are accessing these
services through mobile or web.And this preference for mobile apps
applies to all age groups, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, two-thirds
of whom identified mobile apps as their preferred channel for
communicating with companies, according to a study by Salesforce.Most
banks already know this. What many don’t know is that integrating
customer service into the app provides an opportunity to increase
customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and create a competitive
advantage. Just as the smartphone has changed banking, it has also
changed customer service.

Customer Service in the Era of the Smartphone

Customer service has always been important. Gartner estimates that
poor customer service is costing businesses over $75 billion in lost
revenue every year in the U.S. alone. According to GrooveHQ, an angry
customer will, on average, tell 16 people about a bad experience, and
research shows it can take 10 or more positive experiences to make up
for just a single negative one. By contrast, GrooveHQ found that happy
customers will tell, on average, nine others about a positive
experience, and that 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for
products when knowing they will receive better service.

Enter the smartphone, which is fundamentally and forever changing the
way people communicate. These devices are as powerful as they are
commonplace, and being constantly connected makes it easy to learn about
or experience new and better ways of doing things. With rapid
improvements in convenience, productivity and knowledge, customer
expectations are higher than ever before. Microsoft’s 2017 State of
Global Customer Service report, for example, revealed that more than
half (52 percent) of respondents in the U.S. already had a more
favorable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer service

Separate research by The Digital Disconnect found that 75 percent of
consumers would prefer to use mobile customer care inside an app because
it reduces handle time and hassle. Unfortunately, the same study found
that a full 95 percent of mobile apps force users to exit the app to get
customer service via the smartphone’s separate voice, chat, texting or
email features.

Making customer service a more seamless experience requires making
enhancements at both ends of the engagement. Before understanding the
role of the mobile banking app, it is necessary to understand how
contact centers are being digitally transformed.

The Digital Contact Center

At the core of today’s digital transformations is data-driven
decision-making, and the businesses achieving the best results are those
transforming every aspect of their operations. The potential for
improvement for brands using customer service is unprecedented.
Forrester’s Digital Rewrites the Rules of Business Vision
Report states, “Digital innovation is the untapped hero of customer
service. A service call is an indicator of an unmet expectation. So why
does it get so little airplay?”

Whether your bank uses the term “contact center” or “call center” the
need is the same: to transform the service experience into one that
dramatically improves both customer satisfaction and agent
effectiveness. And just as the smartphone has changed the way people
communicate, the cloud has changed how organizations implement
transformational technologies.

Cloud-based Contact Center as-a-Service (CCaaS) offerings provide the
context and the intelligent automation needed to both enhance and
streamline the customer service experience. Context for each call comes
from securely accessing the wealth of data currently available about
customers, products, common issues, agent expertise, contact center
activity, and more. This data-driven approach is what makes it possible
to route each call more intelligently to the agent who is best able to
resolve the customer’s issue on the first call.

Lack of meaningful context is the root cause of one of the most
common complaints customers have about customer service: being
transferred to different agents and needing to repeat the same
information until finally getting connected to someone who can solve
their problem. This all-too-common experience helps explain why
two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers now expect personalization from a
customer service conversation with the agent knowing their name, contact
and product information, and service history as soon as they engage,
according to Microsoft’s 2017 State of Global Customer Service report.

While the cloud has many advantages, like fast onboarding and global
availability, it does not assure something that is vitally important for
contact centers: voice call quality. Voice call quality varies
substantially among CCaaS offerings, making it necessary to select a
service that will deliver satisfactory performance for both
Voice-over-IP (VoIP) used in smartphones and the Public Switched
Telephone Network (PSTN) infrastructure for landlines. It’s more
important than ever to have a platform that is not only agnostic about
where the customer connection point is initiating the conversation, but
is also able to dynamically adapt to data and bandwidth variations to
provide a high quality of service.

Being able to resolve issues quickly on the first call substantially
increases customer satisfaction. But high First Touch Resolution scores
have another advantage: it lowers costs through improved agent
productivity. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction and
lowering costs, having a dashboard that provides supervisors with a
real-time view of current call volume and agent activity enables making
better decisions and adjustments to avoid problems. Finally, being able
to better track the performance of agents empowers supervisors to
identify specific areas where their team needs improvement, ultimately
leading to more productive agents and less turnover.

Integrating Customer Service into the Mobile Banking App

Mobile banking apps make it easy for customers to handle most of
their banking needs securely from anywhere at any time without needing
to visit a branch. Citi’s 2018 Mobile Banking Study found that 91
percent of mobile banking users prefer using their app over going to a
branch, and that 68 percent of Millennials who mobile-bank expect their
smartphones to replace their physical wallets.

A major reason for the shift is convenience and instant availability,
which result in instant gratification. But most mobile banking apps do
nothing to make it more convenient to access customer service. Instead,
customers are forced to exit the app to connect with an agent via the
smartphone’s voice, texting or other features. This “disconnect” is not
merely inconvenient; it makes it impossible to provide context about the
customer’s current account-snapshot at the beginning of the call. And
contacting customer service is not just an occasional need. According to
a survey by Morning Consult, 45 percent of respondents using a mobile
app have contacted customer service—the same percentage that have
deposited checks.

This finding was confirmed in a study by Humley, which revealed that
43 percent of customers prefer to address any banking issues they may
have by calling a service representative—the same as using a chatbot,
and more than going to a branch or finding the answer on a website (35
percent each), or reaching out on social media (6 percent).

An assessment of mobile banking apps by research firm Forrester and
mobile application developer Kony identified five of the biggest
deficiencies, all of which implicitly or explicitly provide a reason for
integrating customer service:

  1. Making it unnecessarily difficult to complete basic tasks.
  2. Not helping customers find and apply for products.
  3. Not helping consumers avoid or recover from errors.
  4. Lack of integrated digital money management to drive consumer engagement and help consumers make better financial decisions.
  5. Limited customer service features.

These findings make a compelling case for integrating customer
service into the mobile banking app. Being able to contact customer
service from within the app enables agents to have secure access to
useful context, such as purchase history, transfers, deposits, location
and more, when they first engage with every customer. This information
also helps route calls more intelligently to those agents who are best
equipped to resolve the issues. The app could optionally make it easy
(with permission) to access any of the smartphone’s features or files,
or to verify the user’s identity with a fingerprint or facial scan.

The potential to make the customer service experience more efficient
and effective by using the full power and potential of the smartphone is
limited only by the imagination. Here are a few more examples:
gathering pertinent details via prompts during wait time; in-call and
bidirectional texting; photo and screenshot sharing and annotation;
scanners for barcodes, QR codes and documents; and payment processing. A
particularly powerful capability is a live chat interface rendered on
the bank’s website that enables the customer and agent to interact
directly while simultaneously communicating via voice, text or some
other means.

Getting Started

Needing to contact customer service can already be a stressful
experience—a feeling that is heightened when dealing with personal
finances. A poor support experience is only going to amplify the
problem. By contrast, having support built into the app creates a sense
of comfort and simplifies use, and in doing so, helps build the bank’s
brand and customer loyalty.

Contact Center-as-a-Service offerings that take full advantage of the
smartphone’s many features now make it easier than ever to streamline
and enhance the customer service experience. Operating in the cloud also
makes it possible for CCaaS offerings to deliver carrier-class high
availability, performance, scalability, versatility and security. And
with the enormous economies of scale available in the cloud, digitally
transforming the contact center is now more affordable than ever before.

So take the first step by forming a committee of the key stakeholders
to investigate adding customer service to your mobile banking app. The
committee should include representatives from mobile app software
development and customer service, at a minimum, and optionally from
marketing and finance. Begin by candidly assessing the existing customer
service experience and then explore opportunities to enhance both
contact center operations and the app in ways that make customer service
more effective, efficient and satisfying. The way exists. All it takes
is the will.

As Founder and CEO of UJET, Inc.,
Anand Janefalkar has 15 years of experience in the technology industry
and has served as a technical advisor for various startups in the Bay
Area. Before founding UJET, he served as Senior Engineering Manager at
Jawbone, and also previously contributed to multiple high profile
projects at Motorola.

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