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Merging the Digital Experience with Human Interaction

There have been many improvements over the past few years in the customer service sector. Yet, while some of those positive changes are because of technological advances, we should not overlook the importance of human interactions.

According to Sitel’s 2018 Index Report, 70 percent of consumers still prefer human representatives to chatbots. The 2018 State of Chatbots Report showed 43 percent of survey respondents wanted to talk to a human. They didn’t want to talk to a machine.

https://miro.medium.com/max/1400/0*4RaXqR7hHT0FWxBR. Yet, there are many positive reasons for credit unions to adopt an increasingly digitized experience. The chart below shows how important digitization is for all financial service providers.

https://thefinancialbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Importance_of_digital_transformation-565×315.png  

To be truly successful, then, financial institutions need to use both human and digital channels. While digital streamlines processes and makes them simpler, they could end up isolating institutions from consumers. 

  Credit unions, therefore, must find the right balance for their members and provide both digital and human interactions. Ineffective human-only experiences mustn’t disrupt their journeys. However, it also mustn’t be an isolated digitized experience that leaves users with questions instead of convenience.
 
What Is Human Interaction?  

Some credit unions fail to recognize that human interactions needn’t be face-to-face. Consumers today want their problems solved without having to drive to a physical branch.

Online chat facilities, e-mail, or telephone helplines are all convenient options that have a human touch. Yet, digitized self-service also makes sense. Users can achieve simple tasks without needing human assistance.  

When it comes to the financial services industry, it’s especially important to combine both experiences. When credit union members need to choose the right financial product for them, they need extra human input.   So, how can credit unions add the human touch to the digital financial service experience?  

1.     Adding Chat Options to The Online Experience      

Self-service financial services are certainly here for the long haul. However, credit unions need to focus on offering members a fully personalized experience, too. For this to happen, a human touch must be there whenever consumers require one.

Consumers appreciate the convenience and speed of digitized
and automated services when checking their balances or making payments.
Yet, if they experience a problem or have a complex question, they need the
reassurance of a human representative.
 
One way to achieve this conveniently is to offer a human chat
facility within the online user experience. This could be a text-only chat
function or even an online video chat with a representative.
 
This option reassures members and gives them the confidence
that their user experience matters. They can have the peace of mind that
comes with knowing that a human is reachable if they experience
issues. 

https://acquire.io/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/why-live-chat-preferred.png

The above chart serves to show why live chat is still a preferred option for consumers. Financial service providers must tap into this
preference and ensure that they offer it.  

Even today’s most cutting-edge artificial intelligence cannot replace
human interactions when it comes to resolving complex problems. At
least, not yet, it can’t.  

2. Offering Flexibility Between Human and Digital Options  

Credit union members increasingly want control over how they complete transactions. However, whichever method they choose, they want a seamless and simple experience.   

Members want more flexibility, too. They want the ability to shift between approaches and methods if necessary. One example of this in practice comes from TBC, an Eastern European bank.  

Rather than simply relying on an online/telephone approach, TBC decided to offer even more flexibility. Customers were able to begin a loan application on the telephone and, then, complete it at a kiosk or ATM.  

This Omni-Channel engagement led to the bank receiving a FICO Decisions award. It’s clear, then, that other organizations can learn from this flexible approach to offering financial services.

3. Leaving Simple Inquiries to Tech but Complex Ones toHumans

https://www.convinceandconvert.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Critical-Chatbot-Statistics-2018-2-e1516922252367.jpg

The chart above shows that one of the greatest benefits of chatbots is they can answer simple questions rapidly. When users need a fast response, or a basic question answered, technology is well-placed to handle it.

However, not all inquiries will fall into this bracket. Often members have complex issues to discuss or need a little understanding and empathy. 

Digitization is perfect for handling questions, such as, “What’s my balance?” What happens if someone believes he or she has received an unfair charge or suspects fraud? In this instance, digitization is not the answer.

Individuals want a human operative to reassure them that the company is looking into and resolving their problems. They cannot get the same level of reassurance from a chatbot or machine. 

Therefore, having the right blend of well-balanced technology and human interaction is the best way forward for credit unions.

4. Funneling Through Digital Channels but with Human Monitoring

For some time now, the financial services industry has recognized social media as a vital communication channel. Yet, even on this digital platform, a human touch remains essential, all the while funneled through digital channels.

Channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be excellent platforms to answer questions and resolve issues. Yet, to exploit the true benefits, companies must correctly harness their potential.

Companies need to constantly monitor social media accounts to make sure they’re effectively and promptly resolving inquiries. It’s also essential to remember that not everybody wants to deal with his or her credit union through social platforms. Offering customers several contact channels is the best way forward, so they can choose the most convenient one for them.

5. Call Centers Using Data Analytics to Provide Greater
Personalization

Call centers are a key customer contact point and allow for effective human interactions. Callers can immediately speak with a real person who can answer their questions personally.

While call centers are still essential for credit unions, they can be even better with elements of technology added in. Data analytics added to call center systems can improve the customer service experience exponentially. For example, when a company employs technology well, it can direct callers to the best operative based on chatbot responses. Data analytics programs can also give call center operatives personalized caller information. That way, they can better tailor services to them .

This allows for the callers and customer service team members to build a strong rapport. By employing the best of technology concurrently, a company can provide the perfect balance for optimal customer support.

What Will Customer Communication with Financial Services Providers Look Like in The Future?

https://www.businessprocessincubator.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/www.capgemini.comretail_banking_trend-6-2-b26d77882fcc695ff2a6d4390d7cb5828e22c193.jpg  

The flow chart above shows how technology in the financial services industry can prove to be highly beneficial. The latest developments bring savings in resources and costs, not to mention improved customer insights.  

Yet, it couldn’t be more important for financial services providers to remember the human touch is also indispensable. This is an aspect of customer care that is unlikely to change any time soon.   

Human representatives offer a level of empathy and understanding that cutting-edge technology cannot give. Organizations that apply the right balance of both human interaction and digitization will, therefore, be most successful.  

Getting the balance right is a primary differentiator in the ever-evolving customer service landscape of today and tomorrow. As consumers constantly demand more and want more personalized experiences, financial service providers need to step up to the plate.  

Machines may have their place. But, sometimes, humans want to talk with other humans – and that’s a fact!

Shondell Varcianna is the founder of Varci Media. A content writing agency that writes content for financial institutions. She can be reached at her website: shondell@varcimedia.com.

For more blog writing tips, check out The Ultimate Blog Content Checklist – 10 Keys to Blog Content Success at www.varcimedia.com/checklist

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine + WEB ACESS and THE TEAM BUILDER (GROUP SUBSCRIPTION) members only.
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