Something has happened in the ten or so years since the financial crisis: Banks and other financial institutions have gotten, well, rather hip. And personalized. And, dare we say it, customer service-oriented. One of the foundations for this change is the fact that they can leverage new communications approaches to become more nimble, flexible and dynamic – especially unified communications (UC).
Since being branded as a collection of too-big-to-fail, old-school, monolithic institutions that did not care for humanity, the financial vertical has refurbished itself, becoming one of the most fast-paced and rapidly evolving industries out there when it comes to serving customers in new ways. Think well-crafted account alerts and notices, intuitive and helpful self-service apps, better truth-in-lending processes, efforts to make investment less intimidating, and (gasp!!) a move away from phone trees and interactive voice response systems (IVRs). In short, when it comes to innovative models for customer engagement, financial organizations are in it to win it.
In order to offer a better in-bank experience, tellers and account managers often need to access the expertise of other people within the organization, whether it’s at the headquarters or regional center, or in other departments at the branch itself. Thanks to tools like availability indicators, instant messaging, and the ability to seamlessly reach mobile and remote employees, UC gives tellers and others the ability to collaborate and exchange information at a much more agile rate. In short, it helps make a visit to the branch a simple errand for customers, instead of an hours-long slog through red tape.
The same is true for other modes of service. UC allows for better call handling within the contact center. With CRM integration, contact center agents have immediate access to customer records with every inbound call. Knowing the caller’s identity and history ahead of time greatly improves the quality and professionalism of call handling. As a result, every customer feels like a valued guest rather than just a number attached to a bank account.
At the same time, banks have become more community-oriented in an effort to stay competitive. There’s been a proliferation of local credit unions and regional banks, investment houses have begun catering to the community and individuals in more personalized ways, and even large nationwide conglomerates have empowered their branches to be a friendly face for helping people reach their life goals.
UC is a critical piece of this reform, acting as a collaboration platform behind the scenes that enables financial institutions to differentiate their offerings and attract new sets of customers. For instance, relying on UC, today’s local branches can become more than just places to pay bills, open new accounts, deposit checks or apply for cookie-cutter loans. By offering telebanking, they can expand their offerings to include wealth management, retirement planning and investment strategy, even if their in-house resources are limited. Some forward-thinking organizations even have home-loan specialists or entrepreneur specialists available via web chat or video to help with budgets and savings plans, helping families achieve their dreams.
One other note: The finance vertical also has specific requirements when it comes to handling critical and sensitive information. For instance, ATMs and local branch additions must be connected securely, and customers demand secure mobile and online banking. There’s also the matter of interbank communications, which need to be enabled but secured locally, nationally and globally. A reputable UC provider like TPx will offer the highest possible level of security by utilizing private networks and geodiverse carrier-grade datacenters to handle UC traffic. UC also enables call recording and analytics tools that can help banks with their privacy and data protection regulatory compliance obligations as their customers’ sensitive information traverses these various networks.
If you’re a financial institution looking to up your game to be more competitive in your local markets, contact your TPx representative today for details on how we can help you leverage UC to meet today’s customer expectations.