By Sumeet Sanghani

Remember when a smile and a thank you right after the business transaction were the sole requirements of a customer service strategy? It’s no secret that winning and keeping customers today requires impact beyond the transaction, no matter how bright the smile or sincere the thank you. It’s about providing an experience – not just one, but repeated, meaningful and memorable experiences.

Sumeet Sanghani

“You don’t have to be in banking to appreciate these lessons – all businesses should take a second look at the collective processes that impact each customer’s journey.” – Sumeet Sanghani, Industry Leader, Commercial Business Group

As a result, businesses are augmenting that smile/thank you transactional approach at a dizzying pace – with relevant, timely, personalized interactions across a widening array of channels. Here are three ways the banking industry – arguably one of the most transaction intensive businesses – is turning transactions into experiences, and succeeding:

Make compliance a differentiator, not a burden

If you think about customers’ basic needs from banks or any business – they want value and fairness, and they want to feel safe and secure. Much of this is foundational – but could be enhanced and accelerated. Banks have had to take a deep look at these foundational aspects to fulfill compliance mandates, and many are turning to automation to help, often viewed as an onerous and costly burden of being in business in this new normal.

One of our clients—a financial services giant—uses a cloud-based Know Your Customer (KYC) solution to automate data capture, document recognition, classification and inspection. Customers benefit from improved transparency, additional security, and consistency and accuracy that now spans every experience they have with the bank. Furthermore, the bank benefits from archiving and verification and avoids the reputational and financial risks typically associated with ineffective KYC practices.

Use back-office efficiency to drive front-office impact

Front-office innovations such as online banking and mobile payments have radically improved the customer experience. They are also largely still supported by manual back-office processes that are often plagued by a high rate of inconsistency and errors, large expenditures and slow response time to customers. In fact, 60 percent of customer dissatisfaction can be traced to back-office inefficiencies. 1

One of our consumer credit card clients accelerated the time it takes to process customer requests, forms and claims by 40 percent when they solved these back-office inefficiencies. By centralizing disparate back-office processes inherited through mergers and acquisitions, they reduced processing time from five days to three. Customer data is also more accessible and traceable now that it has been archived and integrated into a customer relationship management system.

Visit our Digital Business Transformation webpage and learn how we help our clients improve their customers’ experiences.

Know your audience

While the transformation to digital and mobile applications is disrupting traditional banking (and other business transactions) at a breakneck pace, you might be surprised to learn that even the millennial generation is not yet digital-only. They still want the option for a human connection. Banks and businesses need to strike the right balance for each customer, while learning from every interaction, to enhance and tailor delivery of services.

For example, when U.K.-based Atom Bank launched the first mobile-only bank, their leaders had to be able to offer all the services a customer might need via a mobile app. Incorporating WDS Virtual Agent software from into the app, the solution guides the consumer through the process of identifying and solving his or her request quickly and accurately, while continually learning through each interaction.

“One of our core design principles was to enable the customer to do everything within the app,” says Stewart Bromley, Atom Bank’s chief operating officer. “This means not only that our customers can get support without leaving their banking app, but when they need support, we already know who they are, where they are, and what device they are using. Hence, the support can be more exacting to that customer in that moment. But it would be wrong to assume that every the customer wants to use it. The customer will be able to use self-support, but can equally use assisted channels, such as chat, secure messaging, voice, and video.”

You don’t have to be in banking to appreciate these lessons – all businesses should take a second look at the collective processes that impact each customer’s journey. Making changes to leverage analytics and automation is the quickest way to ensure efficiency, accuracy and continuity of information across all touch points and deliver a secure, personal and effective experience to go with the smile and thank you.

1 Quote is attributed to John Goodman, co-founder of TARP, at SpeechTek 2006; found in document copyrighted in 2008