Service and support is an incredibly important aspect of any relationship between a consumer and business; those organizations that fail to prioritize customer service will ultimately struggle with customer loyalty and retention. In fact, a recent Northridge Group study found that 72% of participants would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. Top causes for customer disloyalty are transfers, repeating information, being treated generally (no personalization), repeat contacts and switching channels. This should serve as a red flag for credit unions; too many institutions still rely on a dated, phone-centric member service approach that causes several of the above disloyalty triggers.
There is a significant global shift toward self-service. It’s easier, quicker and more convenient for members, and allows credit unions to deliver support more efficiently and at a lower cost. Yet, many credit unions still largely require members to abandon digital self-service channels when a problem occurs and dial into a call center instead, forcing them to reauthenticate and provide context around the issue at hand. The result is frustrating and inefficient for members and employees alike.
Almost 80% of members that phone into the call center are either already on the institution’s website or mobile app, or close to a device that would allow them to easily connect digitally. So, why are members being forced to leave their channel of choice to connect via a clumsy and time-consuming phone experience? It’s time to embrace a digital-first approach to member service.
While the industry has buzzed about digital transformation for years, the pandemic has sparked more concrete action and progress. This is a good thing – digital is increasingly the touchpoint of choice for members, so credit unions must remove digital initiatives from the back burner. However, many credit unions ignore the glue that makes digital transformation work: Digital Member Service. Institutions are experiencing a surge in digital users, many who are digital novices, and they need help navigating this channel. Credit unions that provide Digital Member Service can enhance both the member and employee experience and better compete in today’s digital world.
The ability to read digital body language
One of the main pain points associated with the traditional call center is the lack of available information about the member. When members call in, the agent knows (at best) the member’s phone number – no context around who they are, what they need or what opportunities might be present. Here, the burden lies on the member to explain what is happening and what help is needed. For instance, if a member is applying for a loan and has a question during the application process, they don’t want to have to leave the digital experience and dial into the credit union’s call center – they want to be met and supported in the digital channel by an agent already armed with insight about the situation and issue.
Effective Digital Member Service reveals digital body language – telling information about what page the member is on, what actions they’ve completed, how long they’ve been online, etc. This context allows agents to instantly get up to speed, reducing the time needed to reach a resolution, improving efficiencies and strengthening member satisfaction and loyalty.
Digital Member Service has been proven to lower Average Handle Times by 18%. And, helping members online within their channels of choice and offering contextual on- and off-screen guidance can increase conversions by 4 times or more.
Enhancing the agent/member experience through use of AI
Providing digital-first member service models also creates the opportunity to leverage more advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), facilitating a more seamless experience for both employees and members. While chatbots are commonly used to solve member-facing questions, they can also be a great tool to assist and help train representatives.
AI can speed member service by surfacing relevant information during the interaction, alleviating agents from having to retrieve information from backend systems. And, bots can scan conversations with agents in real-time and present suggested answers or prompts, which can then be accepted, discarded or modified. As agents accept or decline the suggestions, more data is collected to strengthen the bots’ capabilities, improving the accuracy and reliability of their responses.
Bots can also be used to oversee member interactions. By monitoring exchanges, bots help ensure agents are promptly responding and effectively helping members with their questions and issues. Such oversight also helps confirm that everything is going as it should from a compliance, security and accuracy standpoint. Leveraging AI is an efficient way to effectively serve members as their issues become more complex.
Credit unions that prioritize providing members with a digital-first approach to service have been proven to experience many benefits such as boosted efficiencies and lowered costs, not to mention a better employee and member experience. It’s common for institutions that incorporate Digital Member Service into their member experience strategy to see 20% improvements in member satisfaction, reflected in NPS and CSAT scores.
The need for Digital Member Service is here to stay. To successfully compete in today’s digital-first world, credit unions must prioritize all aspects of digital transformation, including digital-first support and guidance.
Dan Michaeli is the CEO and co-founder of Glia, a leading provider of Digital Customer Service.