Banks used to close at three PM and could rely on customer loyalty, usually for a lifetime. Now multiple factors are colluding to shake up the market, centralized around the power of the consumer. The banking sector is undergoing a rapid evolution.
Firstly, for most customers the bank now lives inside an app. We can see balances, make transfers, order cards and more with a few clicks or the swipe of a finger.
Secondly, legislation like Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) has liberalized banks’ monopoly on customer account information and payment services. This has led to a wave of alternative banking service providers like Revolut, N26 and Starling, many of which see no need in providing a high-street branch. They are the challengers, mobile only and agile. And more banks means more consumer choice. We can now easily compare banking services to make sure we are getting the best deal, and then switch as we please.
As a result, consumers have become fickle. In today’s ‘always-on’ culture consumers crave convenience, and will gravitate towards those businesses that make their lives easier
Nowhere is this more critical than in the banking sector, where priority is increasingly given to good customer service as a competitive differentiator.
More often than not this means good omnichannel communication, meeting the consumer where they hang out online, on smartphones and in apps. Where once customer service was a lumbering process, now an array of communication channels and platforms are available, including chat bots, SMS, messaging and video.
Recent research commissioned by cloud-based communications platform Sinch, looked at how video calling, from a consumer and enterprise perspective, is playing a role for banks that want to hit the moving target of consumer expectation.
It found that consumers increasingly want to interact via video. Importantly, 23 per cent of respondents said that they would switch to a bank that provided video calling as a customer service touch-point. A further 41 per cent said that video calling could improve customer service.
For analyst firm Gartner, video calling is a necessity, forecasting that 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video chat by the end of 2018, because it provides consumers with a richer sense of presence, personalized experience and the support of emotional expression – something that can only be achieved when you can see an agent’s face.
The Sinch report agrees with this assertion. 36 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted to see facial expressions of customer service agents, while 38 per cent said video calling could provide a more personal service.
Convenience is also a key driver. 38 per cent said it would save time and 37 per cent said it would resolve queries in the moment. The survey results also show that it is millennials that are driving demand for video calling. 50 per cent expect companies to offer it as a way to communicate with them.
81 per cent of banks surveyed think video calling makes them more approachable for customers and prospects. Whilst 83 per cent think that consumers judge them on their ability to keep up with technology trends, and that video calling improves the level of customer service offered.
The Sinch report revealed that whilst consumer expectation is high, so is the awareness from banks that video calling can improve customer service (and reduce costs). But change to new communication platforms and technical implementation can be a slow process, less than half the banks surveyed said that video calling was something they offered.
As customer service becomes the key battleground, challenger banks have led the way, but this is beginning to change. Enabled by the availability of Communications Platform-as-a-Service platforms (CPaaS) which delivers messaging, voice and video, customer communication can be achieved via simple API integration, the question should be; can banks afford not to respond?
The Sinch report, How Consumer Demand Is Shaping The Future Of Video Calling for Enterprises can be downloaded here
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