6 Ways to Transform Customer Service for Financial Services

April 03, 2023
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customer service finserv

Customer service is vital for all business-to-consumer industries, but this is especially true for financial services. That’s because fostering trust is paramount in banking—without it, customers are quick to turn to a competitor.

In fact, 92% of consumers rank quality customer service as one of the top factors they value when choosing a bank.

So how do you ensure you provide a great experience that’ll help you retain customers? This post offers 6 tips to transform your financial services customer service approach to increase loyalty and reduce costs.

1. Provide comprehensive agent training

Finance is a particularly complex industry. So as you onboard customer service agents, they’ll need comprehensive training to understand regulations, financial solutions, and identity verification processes.

Banking customers often have in-depth questions about how to make financial decisions, and agents must have a well-informed answer. By educating agents on the range of services your organization offers—such as loans, savings accounts, and retirement accounts—you can empower them to help customers make informed decisions.

Customer-facing employees also need to stay informed on the macroeconomic environment and its impact on customers’ finances to advise them. So in addition to training programs, financial institutions should offer employees ongoing education like weekly newsletters or monthly lunch and learns.

With the appropriate training and education, you can prepare customer-facing employees to resolve even the most complex customer inquiries, ultimately generating trust and loyalty.

2. Be transparent about data privacy

The financial services industry handles some of the most sensitive customer data, and it’s heavily regulated to ensure institutions keep this data secure.

Complying with regulatory requirements (like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) is a top priority in this industry because banks that violate rules around data privacy can face hefty fines—to the tune of $100,000. Noncompliance also erodes trust and can cost banks customers.

On the flip side, complying with regulations and communicating clearly to customers how you store and protect their data generates trust. After all, 98% of customers want businesses to take more measures to guarantee the privacy of their data and be transparent about data usage.

Transparent communication includes:

  • Giving customers access to your written privacy policies
  • Disclosing whether you share customers’ nonpublic personal information with third parties
  • Providing a reasonable way for customers to opt out of sharing their information with third parties
  • Sending an annual privacy notice to customers

3. Create personalized experiences across channels

Just like retail businesses use customer data to make personalized product recommendations, financial institutions can use data to tailor the customer experience and improve retention. In fact, 66% of customers say they’ll stop doing business with a brand that doesn’t personalize their experience, and 86% say brands can increase their loyalty with personalized experiences.

Personalized experiences in banking can look like using contextual data from previous interactions to recommend tailored financial solutions. For example, if an agent pulls up a customer’s profile and sees that they’re a small business owner, the agent can recommend solutions specific to small businesses.

The key to accessing actionable data is to use a customer service contact center solution that integrates with other software, like customer relationship management and ticket management tools. Additionally, a customer data platform like Twilio Segment can help businesses remove data silos and create a comprehensive view of the customer with data points from different channels.

4. Engage customers across channels

Today, it’s vital for businesses to offer customer service across all channels, including digital ones—91% of consumers value mobile and online access when choosing where to bank.

But this is not to say that customers want to do all their banking digitally. While they prefer digital channels for day-to-day tasks, more than 60% of consumers like having access to physical branches to solve more complex issues in person.

The challenge is to ensure that all your channels connect to provide agents with a consistent experience digitally or in person. You can achieve this with an omnichannel contact center approach that integrates channels, allows data to flow seamlessly, and empowers employees to create personalized experiences from a single dashboard.

5. Offer proactive support

Customers want to be in the know about any actions or deadlines that could affect them financially. So in addition to reactive customer service, financial institutions must also offer proactive support to keep customers informed.

For example, banks can send alerts and notifications on customers’ preferred channels to help them stay on top of their financial goals and account security. This includes:

  • Text notifications for purchases over a certain amount
  • Email notifications for logins from new devices
  • Push notifications for loan payment deadlines

When sending proactive communications, include a clear action for the customer, like a Pay now button. Additionally, include instructions for the customer to get further assistance, like “Text back HELP for assistance,” and a way to change their communication preferences.

6. Lower response times with automation and self-service

Customer service wait times can be particularly long in the financial industry because customers often have in-depth questions that require long conversations. Hiring more agents to reduce wait times can be costly, but there are other ways to serve customers while keeping the call queue short.

A great way to lower wait times is to deploy an AI-powered chatbot that can answer common questions and help customers take certain actions like making an appointment. You can also use interactive voice response to route phone calls and direct customers to resources without the need for a live agent.

Finally, offer comprehensive self-service resources so customers can find the information they need. For example, if customers have questions about how mortgages work, direct them to an explanatory video or FAQ page on this topic. This can help reduce call volume so callers with more complex questions can reach a live agent quickly.

Transform your financial services customer service with Twilio Flex

Many of the tips discussed in this post involve using digital tools to transform customer service in financial services. That’s because these tools can help businesses streamline communications and differentiate themselves from the competition by offering a better customer experience.

Want to dive deeper into this topic? Read Digital Transformation Trends for Financial Services to learn more about how banking organizations can leverage digital channels to nurture customer relationships.

Ready to modernize your contact center to engage customers better? Check out how Twilio Flex can help you deliver personalized support and adapt to customer needs.