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When Online Chat is just not enough

I’ve been using online banking for a while now. Just the other day, I had a quick question and saw “Chat Live with a representative” so I decided try it out. As I got comfortable asking a few questions, I started to want to do more. I wanted to talk with the banker. And I’d like the banker to look at my account page with me so I knew we were looking at the same information. It would have helped if I could see the banker and have her give me on-screen guidance.

In a recent report, Alyson Clarke from Forrester interviewed a number of financial institutions that have been using various channels to communicate with their customers from online chat to video. The report revealed that while online chat can be a great way to offer live help, the experience is probably better suited to simple situations.

Apple’s FaceTime has made video communications convenient and simple to use. Video technology has dramatically improved; so it’s time for financial institutions to move beyond chat and offer video banking, true video banking. Read More »

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Mortgage Lenders Imperative – Engage Millennials

I am a millennial and my entire financial life fits in my front pocket.

Whether I am setting up automatic credit card payments, paying a friend back for a dinner he paid for, making my monthly rent payment, or buying the latest Wall Street darling stock; it can all be accomplished with four or five taps on my smartphone.

Since the advent of the iPhone in 2007, the app economy has flourished, and now there seems to be an app for everything. This is particularly true for the financial services industry. There are apps for banking, investing, measuring net worth, tracking expenses, processing payments, and for things that probably neither you nor I have even thought of yet.

This trend has spilled over from the world of simple financial transactions to the complex financial world. Exemplifying this perfectly is the astounding success of Quicken Loans, which has grown to become the third largest United States mortgage lender (by volume) after adjusting its strategy in the late 90’s to become a direct digital lender. And as you may have guessed, they have an app for that. Read More »

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Provide Service at Your Customer’s Convenience

107718_NW Infographic_04-27-15As consumers, we have many options in how we browse, research, and purchase products today.  We expect more freedom and flexibility in how we work with retail companies. Forward-looking companies strive to improve their customers’ experiences and provide flexibility without compromising quality.

However, some industries are considered conservative and rigid. Financial institutions are often seen this way. It’s ironic. Financial institutions brought us ATMs, online banking, bill payer, and generally made us more self-sufficient with our funds.

Unfortunately, areas such as mortgage lending remain high-touch and require a face-to-face meetings with customers. For banks, the challenge is that it doesn’t make sense to have an expert in every branch, which means mortgage experts typically travel among branches.  Customers may have access to a lending expert only once a week, or even every two weeks.  It’s difficult to do business that way.

Now, look at what Nationwide has accomplished in the area of mortgage lending.  Nationwide prides itself on customer service: It’s the world’s largest building society and services 1 of every 4 U.K. homes.  In order to grow and provide exceptional service to more households, Nationwide realized it would be better to
bring its mortgage experts to the customer.  They did this with video conferencing and the results have been spectacular.

Most impressive is the increase in customer satisfaction from meeting with consultants over video.  The experience and expertise remain the same, but providing experts at the customer’s convenience led to a significant improvement in ratings. And, additional business for Nationwide at lower cost.

I applaud Nationwide for not over-rotating on video.  They have successfully taken advantage of video to serve more members and bring home ownership to reality for those members on their terms.  They did this by continuing to provide “white glove” treatment to their members.

Upon arrival, customers are greeted by an employee who escorts them to the meeting room. The employee begins the video session, makes introductions, provides refreshments, and supports the process by managing documents, copies, signatures, and other branch-based tasks.

Video doesn’t replace the experience, it augments it.

There’s a saying that Read More »

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Introducing Cisco Remote Expert Mobile

It seems like once a week I come across an article about how mobile devices will revolutionize customer care. To some degree, the articles all share a theme: “Make your life simpler with anytime anywhere access to… your bank, insurance provider, even a doctor.

These articles are chock-full of facts and figures. They tell us consumers prefer to access customer care via mobile devices. And they report that companies are in their infancy when it comes to implementing improvements to meet this demand.

(And can you believe it? I’m almost finished with the introduction and I haven’t dropped the most bodacious customer-care buzzword of all: omnichannel!)

So much has been written about omnichannel that I don’t think I can add much more. Other than: As a consumer, I want it!  I want the consistent customer care experience that omnichannel promises as I move from one channel to another.

But if I’m being honest, what I really want is a complete end-to-end experience on whatever channel I happen to be on.

My options are limited if I’m logged into my banking app on my iPad and I need live help. I could use my phone and call into a queue, or request a call back, or maybe even start a chat session. But how is this making my life simpler?  I still have to re-authenticate myself, maybe go through an IVR process, explain what I’m looking for… You get the picture. Read More »

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Making the Branch Core to Omnichannel, and a Hub for Financial Expertise

I recently returned from a Financial Services Summit event in China, where I discussed trends in an omnichannel delivery strategy with an audience from 30 banks. A central part of my discussion was the notion that things are not changing, they’ve already changed. Consumers across the globe have a heavy appetite for digital services.

Digital consumers across all age groups are adopting new digital behaviors at a faster pace. For example, it took one European bank 10 years to have 20 million hits per month on their website, but when they introduced their new mobile banking app, it only took 1.5 years to reach 20 million hits per month.

In a recent Internet of Everything (IoE) in Financial Services consumer study conducted by Cisco across 12 countries, we saw that in China, there is a high interest for alternative banking solutions. However, this same group of respondents (72 percent) put the branch as their first preference for opening up an account. We saw similarly high scores across Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico. The U.S. consumers came in at 60 percent.

So, what does this tell us? For one, it tells us that we need to not only evolve our mobile strategy but also see the branch as a valuable asset that is complementary to mobile and still core to any omnichannel banking delivery model.

Yes, the branch still matters. From opening up an account, to applying for a car loan or even a mortgage, there is an educational and personal interaction component to that journey. Consumers often feel that they are not fully equipped to make decisions about financial products and services alone and often seek advice and guidance from a trusted banking specialist. Read More »

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