Consumers Expect Everything On Demand, But Banks Are Slow To Respond

Technological advances have changed consumer expectations, where satisfaction is measured in a matter of seconds, minutes, or, in the worst case scenario, hours. These is an increasing culture of immediacy that has impacted how people want to engage with their financial institution. Are you ready?

No longer just a luxury, speed has quickly made the transition from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘need-to-have’ across all industries. The demand for instant gratification has made retailers rethink delivery options. Smartphone apps have changed the way consumers connect with taxi alternatives, make a reservation at a restaurant and even arrange a date. Entertainment can be streamed to a TV or a phone in seconds. Consumers are becoming less patient.

This need for immediate gratification has also impacted the banking industry. Spurred on by a surge in banking innovation, a new generation of consumers continue to raise expectations to greater heights. Long wait times and limited customer service options are quickly falling out of favor as new technology — such as mobile banking apps, peer-to-peer transfer services and online banking — responds to a consumer base that is perpetually impatient.

Millennial consumers specifically often trade face-to-face interactions at their local bank branch for the speed and convenience of digital alternatives. In fact, mobile banking transactions are expected to more than double by 2022, while visits to retail bank branches may decline as much as 36% during the same time frame. And it is not just the Millennial generation. Consumers of all ages are increasingly choosing digital alternatives rather than visiting a branch

Consider a few ways to meet consumers’ need for speed without losing the substance of secure, seamless transactions.

Payment Card Instant Issuance

The slow process of replacing lost or stolen payment cards offers plenty of room for improvement and increased speed. Consumers appreciate the increased convenience of payment card instant issuance. Not only can the luxury of picking up a fully activated payment card enhance the customer experience, but it also bodes well for business. Approximately 40% of payment cards are never activated. With instant issuance, however, activation rates can reach nearly 100%.

When it comes to fraud prevention, instant issuance provides another positive impact. All too often, consumers are forced to wait weeks for a new payment card. In addition to putting a damper on the customer experience, this delay in activation can increase the risk of fraud.

Extra time in the issuance process also gives fraudsters more of an opportunity to compromise newly issued payment cards, whether through using fake PINs or activating cards with unauthorized IDs. Fortunately, instant issuance can help ensure such concerns remain a thing of the past. By immediately retrieving their replacement payment cards at a local bank branch, consumers can rest assured that their personal information is protected.

Finally, with fewer and fewer in-person interactions in branch facilities, the issuance of replacement cards at the platform area allows for discussion of additional customer or member needs, with the opportunity for cross-selling and deeper engagement.

In-Branch Digital Options

While far fewer than in the past, there are still consumers who prefer to visit a brick and mortar facility. It is important to introduce self-service alternatives to these consumers to help them become familiar with digital banking and to relieve branch staff from transactional activities.

For routine banking activities, such as re-issuing payment cards or managing accounts, a new wave of digitally enabled ATMs may be a great alternative. More than 80% of customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. And in many cases, that’s the way they like it. Nearly 65% of millennials as well as 47% of baby boomers prefer self-service.

Cater to such consumers by swapping out traditional teller lines with one of a new wave of ATMs that can replicate tablet or mobile transactions in addition to dispensing cash and even helping to sell services. Doing so may help establish your bank as a go-to destination among potential customers while also freeing up staff members to focus on other important issues.

Better yet, these ATMs can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in an accessible part of the branch. The opportunity to ask questions via a video screen any time of day or night promises to contribute toward a banking experience that will keep customers coming back for more. In fact, a fast response time was rated the most important attribute of a customer experience.

As far as the security of self-serve transactions, new technologies continue to expand the potential for ATMs. Authentication capabilities — such as biometrics and mobile smart credentials — help guard newer ATMs against fraudsters. Iris scanners and fingerprint readers tie authentication to a user’s physical attributes, while mobile smart credentials eliminate the need for plastic smart cards, passwords or one-time password tokens.

Chatbots

Much in the same way self-serve ATMs can lend a helping hand, chatbots are poised to take a load off current staff members while also creating a more convenient customer experience. Worried about getting consumers familiar with such technology? More than 40 percent of consumers already prefer chatbots for customer service interactions. Considering the speed and convenience of chatbots, that number is expected to rise moving forward.

From checking an account balance to making a payment, chatbots give customers the opportunity to meet their banking needs anytime, anywhere. And in today’s on-demand society, such convenience can help a financial institution stand out in an increasingly crowded space.

In addition to paving the way for an improved customer experience, chatbots also leave their mark on banking operations. Chatbots can make it easier for employees to quickly pinpoint answers by functioning as an information database. This resource may help your staff service customer issues faster than ever before. Rather than hunting down a piece of data on their own, customer service representatives can leverage an internal chatbot to deliver answers at a quicker pace.

Since chatbots can easily take care of simple banking activities, customer service representatives are also freed up to become more experienced at handling more complex, higher value opportunities. This extra flexibility promises to increase the number of available representatives and may even advance the knowledge of bank employees.

Financial organizations need to be careful when converting to using chatbots as opposed to humans, however. According to research by Fetch, automated responders are at the top of the list of frustrations Millennials have with new technology. Usually this is caused by the inability for chatbots to understand questions or not delivering the response desired. This is where AI and machine learning technology can assist.

Interestingly, the same study from Fetch found that AI supported voice assistants were the most likely technology to be used by consumers, with 56% liking the new technology. Unlike most innovative digital technology, voice digital assistants were liked more by older generations than by Millennials.

Digital Technology: The Cause and Solution for the Cultural Impatience

Millennials are soon to become the largest living generation, and many criticize this generation for several reasons; one of the most prominent claims about Millennials is that they are ‘impatient’. The demand for instantaneous feedback with internet searches, purchases and daily engagement has repercussions beyond internet usage and purchasing habits; with fewer and fewer waits in many parts of our life, consumers are having less and less patience.

Beyond being impatient, the Millennial consumer is digitally focused, and expectant of a personalized, relevant, and timely customer experience, with a low price point to match if you want to win business. With consumer patience dwindling, the need for fast and convenient service has never been more apparent.

An organization’s response should include the application of data and insights for improved personalization and the use of advanced banking technologies that offer superior service without the wait.

This article was originally published on February 8, 2018. All content © 2018 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

Comments

  1. Prathap Reddy says:

    I agree with you point of view. The technology and potential is still in its infancy with the immediate solves being in interaction design, business cases to apply, removing interaction constraints and acceptance. The big win is that the technology has inherent automation, machine learning and 24 x 7 intelligent availability. We at Engati www.engati.com have started the journey and have been rated one of the best open platforms for building bots by Techworld.

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