In one of its recent articles, American Banker mentioned that U.S. banks are falling behind in digital adoption as compared to banks in other parts of the world. When we explore this topic further, we find two specific areas where customers would have liked better digital experiences: account opening and customer service.
According to a survey by Novantas, digital channels that customers are increasingly using to manage their accounts have risen to become the primary driver of convenience in banking. However, while digital channels provide great convenience to customers, they fall behind when it comes to account opening. The survey found that although the number of customers who desire to shop for and open bank accounts digitally is surging, more than 9 in 10 applicants are forced to complete account opening offline. Ninety-one percent of applicants were instructed to drive to branches or mail in supporting documents to authenticate. Most of these applicants often chose to give up the process altogether.
Banks can fix their broken digital account opening process by tackling authentication. Today, a large proportion of applicants are pushed offline to verify their identities as banks scramble to maintain regulatory compliance and mitigate fraud risks. This doesn’t need to be the case. Banks can and should serve online applicants by investing in a suite of authentication tools such as device recognition, IP geolocation, dynamically generated questions, mobile document scanning, and mobile facial scanning. By deploying an innovative set of digital authentication tools, forward-looking institutions stand to reduce attrition while driving up customer satisfaction.
When it comes to customer service, multiple surveys indicate that consumers still want human contact. Modern contact centers support a variety of digital channels—email, chat, co-browsing, social, video—over multiple digital touchpoints (Web or mobile devices). What many of them still lack is the ability to link interactions in a step-by-step journey to provide a personal, contextual experience for each customer.
Customers want fast service, available 24/7, with a consistent user experience across channels. These are areas where new technologies such as artificial Intelligence and chatbots can better meet customer requirements. However, there is little replacement for the personal experience human employees provide, especially when it comes to handling financial issues. Despite the advantages these technologies bring, consumers remain wary of them, likely because of the fear of becoming anonymous or concern about letting a machine handle their money. In addition, humans are better equipped to handle more complex customer problems that may require several steps to solve. This indicates that successful automation of customer service likely lies in a carefully constructed hybrid approach.