John Ing, Principal Operations Lead for CX at ECS shares his CX Predictions for the banking industry in 2020.
1. Voice will become more important, not less
The death of voice as a contact channel for banking customers has been over-hyped. The expectation that customers would switch to mobile apps and online banking instead hasn’t happened. One reason is that we can all talk faster than we can type – and it’s a far more natural way for people to engage for more complicated interactions.
While traditional IVR technologies (press one for sales and two for support) have never been popular, emerging AI/ML-powered voice solutions are far smarter and more intuitive. Even younger customers are embracing voice, thanks to the ubiquity of voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa.
To help boost their NPS and differentiate their services, banks will turbocharge contact centres with smart voice channels that offer a frictionless customer experience. An interaction might start with a basic chatbot, switch to an AI-powered virtual agent that understands context better and finally escalate to a voice call with a contact centre agent.
We will also see virtual voice assistants talking to each other: for example, a customer might use her in-car voice assistant to call her bank; the bank’s virtual assistant will then arrange for an agent to call her at home that evening to discuss her loan.
I believe this will all happen far faster than the industry anticipates.
2. More customer contact channels, not fewer
The perceived wisdom has been that new, cloud-based contact centre technologies would allow banks to reduce their customer channels. In fact, the opposite is happening, driven by customer behaviour.
When you add a new lane to a motorway it quickly fills up with traffic – the same is true for contact centre channels. To boost customer experience, in 2020 we will see banks starting to offer more contact options, not fewer. The trick will be to ensure these are frictionless, with no virtual traffic jams.
3. With AI and ML, a single customer view is finally within reach
A single customer view has been the banking industry’s goal for 30 years. While banks have amassed masses of valuable customer data, most of it is still languishing in data silos.
Cloud-based contact centres augmented with AI and machine learning are ushering in a new era in which a single customer view is finally possible. In 2020 cloud and AI contact centre deployments will accelerate.
Technologies such as Amazon Connect let banks aggregate customer data and mine it in real time to perform intent analysis and derive other actionable insights.
Banks will have a good idea why a customer is contacting them before they answer the call and be in a position to resolve issues faster, and even cross-sell and upsell other services that might appeal.
A recent example is the collapse of Thomas Cook, which generated a huge amount of calls to banks’ contact centres from concerned customers. Banks that have deployed AI in the contact centres are able to respond more rapidly and in a more coordinated way to these spikes. This minimises the number of abandoned calls and ensures that a far higher proportion of customer queries are resolved promptly.
4. Investments in omnichannel CX will take off
Enabled by the cloud, future tech investment will be focused on the full omnichannel customer experience rather than solely on mobile apps. Banks will need to deliver iterative CX improvements that really move the customer service needle to compete better with their fleet-of-foot challengers.
5. Resistance to cultural change and a dearth of cloud skills are a barrier
In 2020, we will see initiatives that encourage in-house IT teams to shift from an infrastructure to a cloud-based mindset, because finding enough people with the right cloud skills is one of the biggest barriers to full-blown contact centre transformation.
The winners will be those banks that can successfully navigate this cultural change and encourage IT teams to learn new approaches and skills that support a more agile and iterative approach to development.
About the Author
John Ing is Principal Operations Lead for CX at IT consultancy and services firm ECS. Before joining ECS this autumn, John spent many years at RBS. John and the CX team at ECS are working with a number of UK retail banks to help them transform their customer experience using the Amazon Connect cloud contact centre solution.