The Autonomous Customer 2020 paints a picture of video and social media trailing well behind phone and email contact in terms of consumer popularity.
Yet, dig beyond the headlines, and a different future for video and social media in the financial sector emerges.
Video gets a new lease of life in financial services
After a period of flat take-up, things are starting to change for video, driven mainly by advances in the technology. Across the board, the ease of use of video has shot up for consumers, now that video apps can easily connect any device to any device and any platform to any platform. Combine this convenience with video’s ability to build the trust so important in financial services through ‘face-to-face’ contact, and you’ve got a winning combination. It’s ideal, for example, for a high value mortgage consultation carried out with the customer in branch and the advisor conferencing in from an expert hub. The consultation could be recorded as proof that everything was done correctly, and CCTV could verify that the right person was signing all documentation.
Our research shows that video is welcomed as a financial services contact channel by consumers. Two thirds want to be able to use video chat to discuss a financial services product with an advisor, and 61 per cent are interested in using video chat to discuss the renewal of an insurance policy or claim.
I expect video to get more traction over the next couple of years in banking and insurance, but there are a couple of things to watch. It’ll be vital to think about your corporate image when you use video: you’ll want video-facing agents to represent your company well in terms of dress, image and setting. Plus, I’d recommend you giving careful thought as to how video will impact your health and safety systems. Adopting video as a contact channel introduces a new threat vector — you’ll need to protect your agents from abuse and from any potentially upsetting sights.
Insurance and banking customers look to social media
While it’s true that social media in the contact centre hasn’t lived up to the hype, I still see it offering value as a contact channel for financial services organisations over the next few years. Although business take up of leading platforms such as Facebook Messenger is relatively small as yet (around 12 per cent in the UK), as more social media platforms increase accessibility by sharing their APIs, things could change rapidly.
There’s definitely work to be done exploring how much information people are willing to share on social media, though. Reticence around sharing personal financial information is to be expected on a public platform, but if customers can message privately — and securely — it could be an area of growth. Already 19 per cent of consumers say it would really add value to be able to share their social media profile with their bank, recognising that it would give the bank better information about them, leading to better customer service.
Upcoming payment card industry changes could also be transformative. Once paying through social media platforms such as Messenger and WhatsApp becomes PCI DSS compliant, it will open the door to a whole raft of simple micro-transactions. Imagine being able to pay for parking or for adding an extra service to your insurance policy, for example. All you’d need to know is your account number and a chatbot sitting on the other end will take care of the rest.
As security and accessibility improves, take up will grow — and insurance and banking organisations need to prepare their internal processes and systems for this. It’ll be essential to balance legacy and new world systems. Capability is increasing. ServiceNow and Salesforce now integrate well with social media, offering more APIs which enable contact centre systems such as CISCO and Genesys to work together harmoniously.
Don’t dismiss video and social media just yet. It’s well worth exploring how your customers would like to be able to use the channels to contact you. A great starting point is understanding the customer experience environment today, by downloading our latest Autonomous Customer whitepaper.