In the past, you could rely solely on the quality of your product or service to keep customers coming back. Today, the pressures of commoditisation, globalisation, and a crowded market make it important to include sustainable values. In this article, we'll look at how being environmentally friendly can help build long-term, profitable relationships with customers, specifically when related to a loyalty rewards scheme.
You’ll Build Your Brand
Numerous studies have shown that consumers would rather support retailers, service providers, and manufacturers who share their beliefs. You can increase sales and customer loyalty by capitalising on people's concerns for the environment. Use the power of the Internet and social media to get the word out that your company is taking environmentally responsible steps by offering a green loyalty rewards programme. Your company's reputation will soar, and your bottom line will expand if consumers perceive that you're a leader in the sustainable space.
It Can Be Your USP
Every business needs a USP – a unique selling proposition – to help it stand out in a very large crowd. With a sustainable loyalty rewards programme, you can take this idea and run with it, ensuring that you deliver on the eco-friendly promises and message you put out there.
Having a USP means easier marketing and better branding, and you can stand out above your competitors who may not yet have understood quite how important this way of working can be. By offering a rewards programme that acknowledges this, you can prove you’re doing all you can – and more – to be environmentally conscious.
Align With Your Customers’ Values
People like to buy from people. They also like to buy from people like them. If you can show that you are an environmentally friendly business through a variety of means, including your customer rewards programme, you will find you can more easily align yourself with your target market’s principles, giving you a much better chance of not only finding new customers but keeping them.
With a sustainable rewards programme that offers rewards such as one that offers incentives for customers who recycle and reuse or who opt for in-store shopping rather than having their goods delivered, for example, you can show what you believe in and gain customers because of that.
To win and keep clients, a green position is going to be more and more essential. It will become crucial to incorporate this into your loyalty marketing system. In reality, it will rapidly become essential, especially for sectors that are thought to have a major influence on the environment. If you are on the fence about starting up a loyalty scheme and you want to be sure you’re doing the right thing, this should help you see why it’s so crucial.
These days, understanding the costs associated with automotive insurance is like trying to solve a puzzle. Most drivers know that different variables determine their premium prices but don't know the factors that outweigh each other when they want to save money or lower costs. Understandably, the inadequate transparency in the process leaves much to be desired, making customers feel helpless and frustrated in reducing their expenses despite practising safe driving.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, insurance carriers also struggle with this problem as they face rising losses and lagging revenues. To offer a better customer experience and save their clients more money, many insurance companies have begun to turn to usage-based insurance (UBI) models to help them accurately predict costs. UBI models can reduce the dependence on generic information, such as gender or age, replacing them with real-world data. Through tools like onboard diagnostics that are equipped to monitor potentially dangerous driving behaviour, they can calculate risks accurately.
UBI insurance is helpful because it can track the vehicle's performance and therefore measure risk with a reasonable level of accuracy. When paired with behaviour-based insurance, carriers and consumers can measure automobile usage and, as its name implies, the driver's behaviour. As a result, they can analyse risk more precisely than ever before, changing the calculus in favour of insurers and their drivers.
With behaviour-based insurance, providers and consumers can understand drivers' actual road behaviour much better when supported by modern technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is especially true if coupled with the smartphone, arguably the most popular onboard device in the world. So while they might have led to the prevalence of distracted driving, mobile technology is also a remedy.
Mobile device features like sensors are now utilised to prevent and identify device use while on the road. Other onboard features like lane-keeping assistance and automatic braking also make driving much safer than it otherwise would have been. Even developers and wireless carriers have begun to push solutions and services to thwart distracted driving. Some examples include locking the mobile device whenever the car starts moving or reaches a specific speed. These tools and all the information you can get can potentially lead to massive savings for drivers and their respective insurers.
Through real-world data across millions of different devices, insurance companies are now better equipped to take stock of the risks of their prospective and existing clients. As a result, drivers can stay on top of their driving habits, not only for keeping their insurance premiums at a minimum, but more importantly, to ensure their safety and that of everyone driving on the same road.
As behaviour-based insurance continues to become more accurate and grow smarter by collecting and analysing data, there’s no doubt that the technologies supporting it will change and evolve to accommodate insurers and their customers better. And because of it, automobile insurance will increasingly become fairer, more affordable, and safer for everyone.
Despite the high cost and high maintenance traditionally associated with corporate portals, banks have been slow to adopt SaaS technology for helping them better manage their budgets. Leading banks are spearheading the way in facilitating digital trade services for their trade clients and prioritising the support of digital trade by relying on innovative Fintechs to build fast, future-proof solutions that can even support multi-banking capabilities.
To future-proof trade finance communications, these are the top priorities large banks are considering and some of the factors that have nudged financial institutions to pursue solutions from external vendors.
Through trade portal as-a-service solutions, banks are now able to allow their trade customers to not only conduct transactions but over time be able to fully handle directly from a single portal application, advising as well as utilisation of electronic documents
Many of the world’s largest financial institutions are not able to offer a fully digitised service to their trade customers due to the immense cost, time and complex implementation processes required to offer a fully digitised user journey. But with advancements in recent technologies like Bolero’s Galileo, banks are well placed to offer truly digitised experiences to their customers to conduct their business at speed and with great efficiency.
The pandemic has highlighted the inherent inefficiencies within trade finance operations and as a result, the demand for digital trade services is at its peak. Trade customers today want to conduct their business online therefore it becomes vital for banks to digitise the customer experience as quickly as possible or risk losing that customer.
As a result of corporates' digitisation of their trade finance processes, banks have been under significant pressure to provide new and improved digital services to their corporate customers who are pushing for a fully digital experience.
Some of the banks we have spoken to tell us that their existing portal solutions do not meet the requirements of their clients anymore. Corporates today are looking for solutions that could adapt quickly and flexibly to new requirements so that they could offer their corporate clients a quick and smooth transition from the old to the newer more innovative systems. They can handle their trade finance transactions as well as having all correspondence between their trade clients and the banks electronically.
For many banks, the total cost of ownership for a trade portal is prohibitive. As a result, banks are reluctant to offer their trade improved customer experiences because the setup costs are too high which in turn slows down the adoption of these services despite the incredible appetite from trade customers.
Subscription-based, turnkey solution cuts the cost of acquisition from millions to a fraction of the cost whilst also reducing the need to hire teams to build solutions and to support clients by developing new upgrades and by providing regulatory-change compliance. By replacing their legacy systems with a state-of-the-art technology platform, banks are able to deliver a more sophisticated digital experience to their customers at a lower cost than they would have paid before.
That’s not all, for smaller more regional banks that do not have many trade clients, the efforts and resources associated with installing a portal solution for their clients often are not worth it. A plug and play solution opens the market up for financial institutions of all sizes.
Technical debt often becomes a major factor that deters banks in their pursuit of building bespoke solutions as they do not want to deal with the expensive upkeep of their trade portals.
We are seeing many banks that have changed course as they adopt white-labelled solutions that not only cut costs but free them from the shackles of constant updates for their trade customers. In turn, they are providing upgrades to their online banking platforms and making a positive change to the customer experience and channelling innovation into a booming industry, all without the technical burden caused by in-house solutions.
Many of the existing legacy portals we see banks use today do not allow for corporate clients to manage their own trade transactions and products like Letters of credit, guarantees, electronic bills of lading and standby letters of credit.
As corporate clients become more demanding of their trade partners to embrace digitisation and increasingly rely on technology to conduct business, banks are stepping up to the challenge by delivering enhanced user experience, improved functionality, and a broad suite of connectivity options.
Structured bank communications and audit trails between banks and clients are very important. Banks have the responsibility of ensuring that their communications with clients are structured and clearly defined to avoid any ambiguity or uncertainty. It is also important that the correct parties respond to the communication in a timely manner, such that there is an appropriate audit trail for all individuals involved.
For example: On many occasions, we have seen cases where a client receives a notice from the bank but does not respond to it immediately. In some instances, the client may not be aware of the deadline or may be unaware of what actions need to be taken as a result of receiving this notice. The lack of proper structure and clear messaging can often lead to delays in responding to requests from banks.
As demand for multi-bank trade finance solutions has more than doubled over the last few years, an increasing number of corporates that use the services of multiple banks are finding it inefficient to work with every bank on an individual basis.
Larger corporates have the bargaining power to dictate to their banks the formats they should use, however for smaller corporates, buying or building a multi-bank solution can prove to be expensive – and then they convince their banks to work with it. The growing demand for multi-bank solutions presents a difficult hurdle for many banks that must focus on client needs.
To end; a black swan event has created chaos and new opportunities for businesses, forcing them to adapt to a new technological status quo. To navigate successfully through the technological advancements being made, corporations are undergoing a rebirth and embracing new-age technologies. Banks must do the same to keep up.
About the author: Jacco De Jong is Global Head at Bolero.
2021 has also been the year that brands have started to embrace embedded finance as a potential tool to solve the issues. Smaller-scale companies have been leading the charge, offering innovative products built around embedded finance, from crypto rewards to interest rates linked to physical health. As they have provided these proofs of concept, bigger and bigger fish have started to explore the possibilities available to them.
In 2022 we expect to see an explosion of new embedded finance use cases - from consumer, sports and healthcare brands. Our research shows that young people, or 51% of 18 - 24-year-olds, are open to accessing financial services from brands they love and trust and 42% are interested in a credit card from their favourite sports team. To date, we have mainly seen embedded finance delivered as a standalone product, but by building experiences. there are also possibilities to create enhanced customer experiences with financial services built seamlessly in.
The potential here is enormous and largely untapped, with different opportunities available to different sectors. For example, football teams have a really passionate fan base who regularly buy tickets and merchandise from their favourite club. Through embedded finance experiences clubs could expand their offerings, going beyond the current tickets and merchandise paradigm to also connect fans to hotel and travel deals for away matches. All of this can be handled in one app with seamlessly integrated payment and the opportunity for fans to accrue loyalty points redeemable against exclusive experiences. This both removes any friction points around access to financial services and payment while improving the loyalty strategy.
We know that loyalty is an important consumer consideration. Some 38% of consumers feel more loyal to a brand if they receive rewards, for example. However, there is also widespread dissatisfaction with loyalty schemes. It isn’t difficult to see the issue - most loyalty schemes only reward customers when they spend with a specific brand, which limits how often consumers can engage with the scheme.
With a loyalty scheme built around an embedded finance experience, brands can expand their loyalty schemes to encompass any purchase their customer makes, which means they can be part of their daily lives in a positive way while building a stronger relationship. For example, we are working with McLaren and QNTMPAY on creating a debit card with unique F1 based rewards, up to and including pit lane access on a race weekend.
What is particularly exciting about embedded finance experiences is that we are just starting to scratch the surface of what is possible. As customers become more familiar with the seamless journeys they can take, the demand for these experiences will increase and brands will be able to innovate further and push the envelope for what is possible. We can’t wait to see how these experiences are going to evolve over the next twelve months!
Finance Monthly hears from Andrew Lawson, SVP EMEA at Zendesk, who discusses the growing divide in the banking sector and how retail banks might become competitive once again.
As the economic fallout of COVID-19 continues, businesses feel the pressure to remain resilient and agile in order to stay competitive. And retail banks are no exception. According to the latest World Retail Banking Report, there has been a disconnect between short-term cost-cutting objectives and long-term digital transformation investment needed for incumbent banks to thrive. In fact, the report indicates a disconnect between what customers want and what banks are actually prioritising.
Right now, retail banking customers expect the same service they would get from any other business, and the pandemic is no longer an excuse for poor customer service. Thankfully, Zendesk’s Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report, shows many traditional bricks and mortar financial institutions who were previously slow in the shift to digital, have reacted fast in order to up their service game. The same research indicates that more than half of financial services companies reported that they increased their CX budget in 2020.
Consumer demand is growing for more personalised advice. Existing retail banks have access to decades-worth of data on their customers. When analysed carefully, this data is rich in details on what their customers want most from their bank. How can retail banks use this, to not only inform personal customer interactions but to transform the customer experience they offer for the digital-first culture?
Gone are the days of a ‘bank for life’. Digitally native Gen Zers are the least likely generation to stick to their bank, as more than half switched their main bank account within two years of turning 18.
It is clear that younger customers aren’t hesitant to make a change if another provider ticks all of their boxes and delivers on their CX expectations. The rise of digital banking has made it easier than ever to move money between accounts – or, indeed, banks. In fact, with legislation like the 2015 EU Directive PSD2, regulated payment services have put digital and mobile-first banks on a level playing field with traditional high street and household names.
Gone are the days of a ‘bank for life’.
Meanwhile, new banking startups entering the field are transforming customer experience expectations in the banking sector, making it easy for customers to get advice, help and support across many channels with a unified experience. From real-time balance updates to budgeting support solutions and even the ability to split the bill and connect your banking with your friends, these features are now integral parts of the banking experience that incumbents need to match to bridge the divide with challengers.
One digital-first bank that has been able to quickly fill an accelerated experience gap is Mettle. The free business bank account offered by NatWest aims to support the rise in the passion economy. That is, people setting up businesses for the very first time. And, what’s more, the demand for this type of service has skyrocketed, with more than 200,000 new companies formed post-lockdown-1.0. Mettle’s biggest challenge was communications back to its customers. Business founders are traditionally time-poor and as such, expect a fast and seamless service from their banking provider.
With a connected service platform, Mettle has been able to listen, iterate and build upon what is important to its customers. Taking a digital-first approach to banking, with integrated self-service platforms and free accounting software enabled the team to take a more flexible approach to service. Being open to customers about what they can and can’t offer has also been a crucial part of reducing the stress for customers and making banking simpler. Mettle’s customer-centric approach helped grow its customer base by 120% in the second half of last year, and the company to connect their understanding of the customer across the business.
Another area where CX teams at retail banks can find quick wins is in the delivery of frictionless digital services, which are paramount to remaining resilient in the face of COVID.
Retail banks need to be able to deliver a consistent digital-first service and meet customers where they are, when they need it most. Already, almost three quarters of customer service agents state that they have the tools they need to work remotely and, what’s more, 58% of agents have regular access to support from developers to customise customer solutions, allowing them to remain adaptable to changing needs.
We see then that a true transformation in the way the industry behaves is here to stay – one built on agility, superior CX and omnichannel banking – but there is still progress to be made. Since the rise of smartphones and app-based banking, customers have come to expect instant access to their accounts - digital banking isn’t just a nice option to have, anymore. As such, financial services organisations will need to find ways to differentiate themselves and remain agile and flexible in an environment of constant change.
Simply being online isn’t enough. Customers want speed and convenience, but they are also seeking commitment to the issues they care about. To keep pace with the ongoing shift in consumer behaviour and expectations, you need to be laser focused in your approach to CX. The bar has been set - and it’s high.
While many traditional methods and procedures are still in play, firms are adopting modern and innovative strategies to draw in a hipper and younger, yet more demanding, clientele.
From new technologies to fresher approaches to client service, here are the top trends that are sweeping and changing wealth management today.
2018 witnessed a firm-wide and strategic digitalization of wealth management companies. The trend continues to this day as big and small firms reshape the different aspects of their business to embody the change.
As the industry prepares for a generation of younger and tech-savvy clientele, integrating digital strategies to their marketing efforts and creating more efficient client-advisor interaction channels become essential.
Firms that have already taken the lead in implementing a centralized digital management strategy are raising the bar and driving competitors to do the same.
In the words of FinTech Advisor and ASEAN/India Retail Banking and Wealth Management Expert, Arvind Sankaran, “We are witnessing the creative destruction of financial services, rearranging itself around the consumer. Who does this in the most relevant, exciting way using data and digital, wins!”
The Institute for Sustainable Investing’s 2017 “Sustainable Signals" report showed that there is a growing interest in sustainable investing and the adoption of its principles among investors. What's even more interesting is that millennials are taking charge.
Millennials take sustainable to the center stage as they search for more socially and environmentally conscious investment opportunities.
This increasing demand for sustainable ventures will continue to push wealth managers to take impact investing more seriously. Thus, the next years may see financial advisors incorporating the environmental, social, and government (ESG) philosophy into their services and financial planning approaches.
Taking into account the millennials’ fascination with anything technologically-inclined, it’s not at all surprising that the idea of Robo-Advisors resonated and connected with young investors quite well.
In a statement, the automated investment service firm, Wealthfront, commended the ability of software-based solutions in delivering investment management services at a “much lower cost than traditional investment management services.”
While it can be argued that Robo-advisors can never replace competent human financial advisors in terms of creating customized long term investments or tax and retirements plans, the competition between automated and human advisors have benefited the clientele. For one, it drove the costs asset management down. More importantly, it forced financial planners to step up their game and prove their worth.
Basing on current trends, digital assistants (Robo-advisors, chatbots, and other forms of AI interactions) will continue to play a significant role in empowering client-advisor experience. We might be looking at a future where AI becomes a fundamental element in crafting large-scale hybrid advice offerings.
2018’s World Wealth Report identified that many clients think the relationship they have with their financial advisors and wealth managers falls short of their expectations and can use some improvement.
This is clearly a heads up for advisors and managers out there. In the wealth management industry, customer experience holds great weight for clients. For most investors, client-advisor relationships are critical because they believe in their in-depth implications on the realization of financial and life goals.
These days, investors are gradually witnessing moves towards better customer satisfaction as wealth management companies embrace automation and hybrid models of financial management, and re-engineer their strategies to satisfy demands and ensure that customers have the best possible experience during interactions.
With the new breed of investors putting a prime on user experience and opening themselves to the possibility of switching to other wealth management providers if their expectations aren’t met, the best way forward is to innovate and shift to strategies that put the client and their needs at the core.
One of the hottest and most contentious issues facing banks today is how and when to utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI) within a business. AI has transformed many industries and consumers everywhere are becoming increasingly used to the idea of driverless cars, conversational chatbots and suggestive recommendation services.
While AI is relatively new in the financial industry, there are significant concerns and limitations that banks must get their heads around. For example, there is much fear surrounding the integration of AI in workplaces as people believe it will result in job losses and ‘robots’ ruling the world. Even the Bank of England has expressed concern, with their Chief Economist predicting a disruptive fallout from the rise of AI that could make many jobs obsolete.
But when applied in the right way, AI can bring endless opportunities, taking away tedious tasks and amplifying what we do as humans. Tanmaya Varma tells us more.
Where does AI fit?
Discerning how best to use AI, without alienating customers or employees, is a complex issue. Within the finance sector, AI is already being implemented to support with tasks such as fraud detection and management, and credit card and loan risk assessments. JPMorgan Chase, for example, uses image recognition software to analyse legal banking documents. It is efficient and accurate, extracting information and clauses in seconds compared to the 360,000 hours it takes to manually review 12,000 annual commercial credit agreements. This sort of capability could transform the lives of many banking employees as they will no longer be consumed by administrative tasks but can focus on value-added roles instead.
AI is perfectly suited to many straight-forward roles within customer experience. As much as 98% of all customer interactions are simple queries and bots can be used to monitor and streamline these engagements. For example, RBS’s chatbot ‘Luvo’ has the ability to respond to basic customer queries; and can therefore reduce the need for as many customer service employees.
Over the last couple of years, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Charles Schwab have introduced robo-advisers that are able to manage investments, collect financial data and use predictive analytics to anticipate changes in the stock market. While some employees are concerned about competing with this technology, we’re already seeing the use of bionic advisers in the finance sector. These combine machine calculations and human insight to provide a more efficient and comprehensive analysis, whilst also still maintaining the superior customer service clients have come to expect from their financial adviser.
The robots’ limitations
AI has such great potential but there is still one key thing missing – emotional intelligence (or EI) and when customers are involved, this really matters. Where a bank might pay less for a fully automated interaction, the justification for paying more for the human touchpoint is the real value of emotional intelligence, something that computers can’t really provide… yet.
Responding to the emotional cues that your customer displays is an extremely important part of a business relationship, and the ability to read and comprehend these signals plays a huge part in tailoring the customer experience. The big challenge for banks now that chatbots are so readily available is to consider when and where this key human trait is required.
Chatbots can’t easily detect a shift in tone or tension in a conversation and aren’t able to quickly appease a customer. For example, while a robo-adviser is great for an inexpensive and basic service, the issue comes when you have a more unique or sensitive financial situation such as debt or divorce. In this sort of more complex circumstance, a human adviser is perfectly positioned to respond to the nuances of the conversation.
Collaboration is key
There is a great opportunity for AI to go hand-in-hand with human employees - chatbots can be used to streamline the experience, deal with straightforward customers and put more complex enquiries through to the most suitable team member. In this way, banks can bring humans and technology together to provide a superior customer service.
Another example of AI working in tandem with human employees is Relationship Intelligence technology. With thousands of contacts on a database, no adviser can possibly be expected to remember what stage each customer interaction is at and build strong relationships with all of them. Instead, AI can provide insights into who your prospects are, which ones are most beneficial to pursue and when the right time to get in touch is. It can instantly make available information and data from all over the internet about any potential prospect from just a name and email address.
As technology advances, banks are having to walk a fine line between looking for cost-saving efficiencies and smarter ways of working, while ensuring their customers continue to receive excellent and personal service. They also do not want to alienate their workforce and create panic that long-standing staff are slowly being replaced by robots. AI can offer a lot but it doesn’t have the human’s ability to build and maintain vital relationships and collaboration between technology and humans is key here. The successful adoption of AI in the workplace is the issue and opportunity of the moment and one that banks will be contemplating for years to come.
In July, global customer experience provider Voxpro - powered by TELUS International, hosted a major event at its Centre of Excellence in Dublin, Ireland, entitled The Future of Money. Over one hundred FinTech innovators from around the world gathered to discuss the current state of the cryptocurrency industry, regulatory and operational challenges, and the opportunities that lie ahead.
“If you ask any crypto company what their biggest issue is, they're not going to tell you regulation; they're going to tell you getting bank accounts.”
That’s according to Jeremy Allaire, Founder & CEO of Circle - a speaker at The Future of Money event in Dublin. Allaire, whose company recently acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex, revealed the significant obstacles that traditional banking institutions are putting in the path of his industry.
“Banks have pretty systematically limited companies’ ability to operate in this space, and that really is a challenge. I think part of that is regulatory uncertainty and part of it is just hostility to a technology which basically threatens to eliminate a lot of their profit margin and business models.”
Allaire believes the solution lies in the establishment of ‘”crypto-native banks” that will work closely with both crypto companies and central banks to provide the connectivity that is urgently needed.
The fact that traditional banks are under threat at all points to a fundamental shift in how the world views money, something that David Schwartz, Chief Cryptographer at Ripple, believes was inevitable in an increasingly global economy. Schwartz told the Dublin audience that the key problem with money as we know it is that it is neither “universal nor interoperable” and that currency needs to be one or the other if it is to serve the modern economy.
“If it was universal and everybody in the world could accept it with equal ease, then that would be fine. And if it could operate with other systems that other people use, that would be fine too. If you're stuck on an island as the economy becomes increasingly global and more and more people want to do business internationally, but have to do it through intermediaries and slow systems, then we start to really hit the problems created by that system.”
So how exactly does cryptocurrency solve this ‘money problem’? Schwartz pointed to the example of how financial services company Cuallix is using XRP, a digital currency created by Ripple, to move money between the United States and Mexico. Instead of relying on the conventional method, which is very expensive and takes several days, Cuallix buys XRP the moment they need it and a few seconds later sells it for Mexican Pesos. The speed of the transaction avoids the market volatility of both the peso and cryptocurrency, and, according to Schwartz, makes the whole process up to 60% cheaper.
As the adoption of cryptocurrency rapidly grows, so will the need for a new kind of infrastructure to support it, particularly with a view to enhancing the customer experience. Jeremy Allaire of Circle described how a new infrastructure layer of the internet is going to allow a lot of the functions currently performed by the financial industry, mostly record keeping in very proprietary siloed systems, to run on the open internet, at a radically lower cost, and with a much better consumer experience.
And he foresees a new wave of industry enabling this shift: “There are going to be very significant large technology companies built that support the move to crypto finance, just like there have been really big technology companies that have supported the move into digital media and digital communications.”
Gregoire Vigroux, a Vice President at TELUS International Europe, shared a powerful prediction with the audience at The Future of Money event. “Within just a few years, over 95% of the world’s population will hold cryptocurrencies.” Moreover, he believes that we are currently witnessing a landmark moment in history, telling the audience:
“If this was the early 1990s, we would have a panel of internet professionals telling us that the internet is coming and is going to represent a major disruption. Well, it’s now 2018 and today we’re talking about the biggest revolution since the dawn of the internet – cryptocurrency.”
The disruption of traditional financial institutions is being fuelled in part by cutting-edge customer (CX) and user (UX) experiences that are now being offered by digital currency providers. Today, more and more FinTech innovators are forming partnerships with customer experience experts like Voxpro – powered by TELUS International, in order to successfully capitalise on crypto’s increasing popularity.
With experience powering customer operations for some of the world’s leading technology companies, Voxpro has the agility, talent, and digital capabilities to ensure a world-class end-to-end experience for every user, even during periods of intense onboarding.
Leading exchange Binance, for example, recently experienced onboarding rates of up to 250,000 new users per day. If that company fails to successfully deal with the increased levels of customer contact that will naturally come their way, those users may head straight to a competitor. As crypto approaches mass adoption, companies must prioritise investments in their customer experience in order to avoid brand-devaluing issues that can come with a major spike in business.
At the end of the day, the overall customer experience provided by companies is what will differentiate them in an increasingly competitive market. Simply put, the FinTech and cryptocurrency brands that ‘put their money where their mouths are’ when it comes to investing in their customer and user experience will win the day in the modern economy.
With 28,000 team members across North and Central America, Europe and Asia, TELUS International is a global business process outsourcing (BPO) provider that delivers contact center, information technology and advisory solutions across fast-growing technology, financial services and FinTech, travel and hospitality and healthcare industries.
Michael Ringman is TELUS International’s Chief Information Officer, where he is responsible for supporting omnichannel solutions that enable the rapid growth and evolution of the company’s clients’ brands. Here, Mike discusses the rise of omnichannel to deliver a personalised and connected customer experience that is critical for brands in our increasingly digitized world.
Omnichannel is still considered a relatively new strategy when discussing customer service delivery. What is omnichannel and why is it becoming the new norm for brands wanting to deliver exceptional customer experiences?
Nowadays, consumers are using an average of five connected devices to access voice, email, chat, social media and self-service when conducting product research and completing purchases. In response to this changing dynamic between consumer and brand, companies must keep pace by offering multiple touchpoints in order to provide seamless connections and instant gratification as customers switch between an e-commerce site, to a smartphone, to a physical store.
An omnichannel strategy involves these cohesive channels, working together to create a unified brand experience, ensuring the customer gets the same service, support, and information, regardless of how they interact with the brand. Unfortunately, in many companies, these channels still often exist in silos, or at best, a multichannel environment where multiple support channel are offered but not necessarily integrated with one another
With customer service outpacing the product as a deciding factor in many instances, brands must evolve to an omnichannel strategy to keep their customers. In fact, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with an omnichannel strategy retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.
Are there particular industries that should be incorporating omnichannel strategies?
Beyond retail, where omnichannel had its start, today’s booming online sales and customer growth across all industries, including banking, healthcare and travel, have made keeping up with consumer behaviour a universal objective. Consumer goods and customer-facing brands, both big and small, need to meet service and efficiency challenges across multiple channels. The new kids on the block – the industry disruptors like Airbnb and Uber – have been focused on delivering a connected, convenient and personalized omnichannel experience right from the start of their business. It’s part of their mentality and company DNA in order to differentiate themselves from established brands. The pressure is now on traditional businesses to make the shift to omnichannel.
How can a company assess their readiness to transition to omnichannel?
When contemplating a shift to omnichannel, it’s important to recognize that it’s not simply about technology. A successful omnichannel strategy will be a blend of people, processes and technology. In order to create and implement a clear strategy, it’s important to understand both the key challenges and requirements needed for effective enablement, which can be split across two categories – human capital and technology. It may sound odd coming from someone in the IT sector, but I would argue that people take precedence over technology. It’s not just the physical setup that needs to change, but how an organisation thinks about—and manages—its business.
You need the support of the entire organisation to foster a culture that is ready to embrace a customer's first paradigm shift, including C-level executives who can remove any silos that may exist, as well as knowledgeable and inspired contact center agents who are able to engage with customers across different channels. To help companies assess their readiness to transition to omnichannel, Everest Group in partnership with TELUS International released an assessment checklist that covers all aspects of making the jump.
The move to omnichannel can be a daunting proposition for some. How can companies plan ahead to make the shift less intimidating while also increasing their likelihood of success?
The initial focus should be to understand where your company stands today in its omnichannel readiness – and where it wants to go. Once established, companies need to ensure they build the following critical success factors into their planning: ensure a customer-centric approach, secure the direct involvement and support of senior leadership, ready the organisation for change on both the people and technology fronts, and align corporate culture with omnichannel imperatives by fostering the right mindset and behaviours among the entire team. By bringing into line people, processes and technology requirements before making the transition, you can expect to drive an enhanced customer experience, see a top-line impact and experience a reduced cost of operations.
Once a company has made or has started to make the transition to omnichannel, how can they measure their success and ensure that they are on the right track to meeting their targets and goals?
When implementing and measuring the success of an omnichannel strategy, you must be aware of the need to adjust key performance indicators (KPIs). This should include adding in, or in some instances, swapping out ‘unfriendly’ customer service metrics for more meaningful and ‘human’ metrics.
Average Handle Time (AHT) is a great example of a metric that only offers a two-dimensional perspective of a three-dimensional world. For example, an agent’s handle time may be high; but what if the customer’s experience was improved because the agent took the extra time to assist him with an issue?
In the age of omnichannel, brands should focus on metrics like First Call Resolution (FCR), which will be a much better indicator of great customer service and will give agents ‘permission’ to take the necessary time to fully address a customer’s issues and own the customer experience from start to finish. Other KPIs, such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Likelihood to Recommend (L2R), are great for getting customers to self-report how they view their relationship with the brand, which provides another layer of data that will help brands better understand their customers and further personalise their experience in the future.
How can brands get the most out of their omnichannel data once implemented?
In order to capitalise on an omnichannel strategy post-implementation, the type of data you collect as well as how you store and analyse it should be a key consideration. It’s important to capture both big data (e.g.: tracking searches on your website) and small data (e.g.: one-on-one conversations between an agent and a customer) from each of your different channels, and to store it in a central data repository. This enables you to analyze it by channel to quickly identify channel-specific challenges, but also affords you the opportunity to view it as a whole in order to help highlight your customers’ likes, dislikes and habits. Leveraged in a thoughtful and timely fashion, this data will reduce reaction times to problems and help to proactively address them in some instances; identify trends in what your customers want and how, when and where they want it; and inform the evolution of your product(s) so that you continue to meet the wants and needs of consumers.
What do you see as the future of omnichannel?
In the near future, an omnichannel customer experience won’t be a ‘nice to have’; it will be a matter of survival for brands in competitive industries as customer service becomes increasingly prioritized by consumers. Customer service will no longer be about voice, chat, digital and email support in isolation. Instead a blend of channels, supporting integrated customer interactions will become an established consumer expectation. Complemented by the rise in artificial intelligence as well as more skilled and knowledgeable agents, omnichannel will foster an increasingly personalised and consistent customer experience to further differentiate brands to an ever wider set of customers.
Insurance services represent an opportunity for banks to improve customer experience and increase customer loyalty.
Consumers have an average of four different insurance products split across three providers, with 63 percent saying they would prefer to deal with a single provider, according to a new survey by Collinson Group.
Following the rise of price comparison and aggregation services, the way people buy insurance has fundamentally changed – competition is fierce, prices are lower and consumers use multiple providers. However, Collinson Group research amongst 2,500 loyalty programme members has found that customers would value a more streamlined way to buy insurance through a single provider. Banks can capitalise on this opportunity by offering insurance products through loyalty initiatives, or value-added packaged accounts and credit cards – improving the customer experience, boosting loyalty and generating incremental revenue.
When asked why they would prefer insurance products with a single provider, 79 percent cited convenience. More than half (51 percent) said they would expect better prices for staying loyal and 39 percent said they would expect to receive added benefits or rewards for staying loyal to one provider.
When asked why they use multiple providers, more than a third (37 percent) said their provider doesn’t offer different products, and more than a quarter (27 percent) said they don’t feel there is any benefit for staying loyal.
An additional Collinson Group’s global study of more than 6,000 affluent middle class customers further emphasises the opportunity for banks, showing a high perceived value of insurance products. The findings found that 72 percent of affluent middle class customers highly value health insurance, 66 percent travel insurance and 63 percent lost cards assistance. Banks should also consider other non-traditional assistance products such as identity protection, to help in the modern age of cyber-crime. The research found that 57 percent of customers rated identity theft protection as a highly valuable service, and that fears over data security influences what brands or products they use. Offering identity protection insurance is another way banks can show commitment to customers.
Mark Roper, Commercial Director of Collinson Group said: “Banks have an opportunity to boost loyalty and make consumer’s lives easier by including insurance products in loyalty programmes or within packaged accounts and credit cards. Given the data banks hold on consumer spending, using this information at the right time to offer highly personalised, timely and relevant insurance products would be valued by customers and can also generate incremental revenue for banks.
“Due to their substantial buying power, banks can achieve economies of scale to deliver value across insurance products and pass this back to their customers. They can offer insurances at the low prices their customers expect due to a group risk approach, packaged as part of a bank account or credit card. This will provide differentiation and builds on or leverages existing loyalty to the bank’s core products –bank accounts or credit cards.
“With effective integration, banks could offer travel insurance to a customer that has just booked a flight, or car insurance when they buy a new car. This will be well received by customers who indicate in the research that relevant offers are welcome, and by consumers that like the idea of a ‘one stop shop’ but need to feel that the provider offers great value and quality products. Banks should be capitalising on this consumer need by seizing the opportunity to create more meaningful and deeper emotional relationships with their customers, and grow their bottom line.”
(Source: Collinson Group)