Data-driven excellence in customer service

Reimagining retail
Wynand Smit, CEO of INOVO.
Data-driven excellence in customer service
Wynand Smit, CEO of INOVO.

Customer service in the financial sector is especially complex, since interactions may involve multiple channels including voice, email, SMS, chat and via websites, all of which must operate according to strict compliance rules and regulations and within the realms of respecting data privacy. Contact centre agents must be capable and have access to the right information to assist your customers timeously and efficiently. With an overwhelming shift to online platforms, digital transformation in your contact centre isn’t just an option, it’s a must.

Taking the pain out of financial interactions

The Industrial Revolution 4.0 provides an opportunity for companies to operate in ways that allow customers to get from A to Z in a more seamless fashion, reducing pain points and facilitating transactions in general. At the heart of seamless, personalised service, is a wealth of data being gathered, stored and used to govern interactions and inform companies about their customer preferences and needs.

Moving to digital means that you can spend less time capturing data and more time in assisting customers better, especially if you automate rule-based workflows or even repetitive manual processes such as reporting. Better yet, it enables you to meet and engage with your customers where they’re interacting (since customers are increasingly online 24-7), and often in real-time.

The house that Data built

Understanding the cumulative relationship of data and what it tells you about your customers is significantly more important than the data itself. Identifying segments and micro-segments based on key customer characteristics, demographics, products held, as well as transactional data across all channels and products will help consolidate a unique view of your customers. This customer insight can then be used to develop retention strategies, identify new cross- and up-sell opportunities, and build predictive models for future customer behaviour, marketing campaigns, and the introduction of new products.

However, before analytics and intelligence can be applied, working towards a cohesive and consolidated customer profile starts with data consolidation and channel integration. By connecting online and offline channels (from the contact centre to your branches), this provides the opportunity for a more seamless customer experience, and the chance to obtain a much better single view of the customer. If customer profile and interaction data is centralized and accessible, it’s far easier to use analytics to derive customer insight that generates personalised, great customer service and delivers optimal business value.

Rapid resolution

When dealing with financial services, the only option used to be Monday to Friday during office hours, sometimes reduced hours. That meant that your customers had to either take time off work to conduct business, or else use up their lunch breaks, hoping they’d make it to the front of the queue in time. A multi-channel contact centre reduces the need for this and introduces self-service options or chatbots that can assist with simple interactions such as balance enquiries or product information requests.

A compromise to providing 24/7 service availability (which may not always be practical in certain environments) is implementing proactive technologies such as automatic call-back options or real-time order updates, for example. Exorbitantly long holding times or a lack of communication is often listed as some of the biggest customer service pet-peeves – considering solutions to shorten holding times and manage customer expectations could be crucial in providing the kind of service and experience your customers expect.

There’s a major evolution in financial services taking place at a rapid rate, from a world of snail mail, faxes and a massive paper trail, to an environment that’s governed by email, SMS, chat, video and online.

Here we are today, with customers who expect immediate responses and a positive Customer Experience, irrespective of the contact channel used. If you haven’t explored the full potential of a data-driven financial services model, now’s the time to ensure that you’re staying competitive and delivering service excellence.

By Wynand Smit, CEO of INOVO