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Customer service is the ultimate customer experience enabler for financial services, and one that can drive brand loyalty and revenue.

In the past, brand loyalty meant you could be forgiven for lapses in customer service. Today that loyalty doesn’t exist. Brands are so easily penalised by customers. The only way to develop modern-day customer loyalty is to offer exceptional customer experience.

And the latest State of Service report shows that 68% of service teams are leading customer experience initiatives. While customer service teams who have shown an improved customer experience are also seeing a positive uplift in revenue.

Here are three ways I believe finservs can boost customer service satisfaction and revenue, by providing a better customer experience:

1. Aligning sales and service on one platform

 

In the past five years, there's been an enormous shift in how customers connect with organisations and the service they expect in return. Customers want to be treated as individuals known to an organisation, no matter which channel they’ve initiated contact through.

For customer service agents to be empowered to meet the expectations of every single customer, on every single interaction, they need to have a 360-degree view of the customer. And this view needs to be connected across departments, particularly sales. There’s no place for traditional, siloed departmental systems in today’s connected world.

Aligning sales and service on one connected platform means every touchpoint with the customer is informed and maximised, naturally improving productivity and creating additional revenue opportunities. Upselling and cross-selling can't be effective without understanding who the customer is, their business, their risk profile, and therefore what products or solutions are relevant.

2. Providing self-service community portals

 

Customer service within the financial services sector is typically lean, with small margins and increasing competition putting more and more pressure on the service function. So it's important that you provide a self-service option and leverage automation where possible.

Customers want to solve their own problems, with 81% trying self-service options before they contact support. This is because getting support has been traditionally painful, time consuming, and inconvenient, and customers aren’t used to waiting for anything anymore. Customers now demand the convenience of being able to conduct their business on their time, interacting when they want, and how they want.

A key enabler of self-service is artificial intelligence. AI provides organisations the technology to answer customer questions automatically – whether that’s via automated live chat using chatbots or predictive knowledge searches – and means customers can manage their own service. This automation frees up agents, allowing them to spend more time on connecting with clients and offering a better customer experience.

3. Creating 1:1 personalised customer service journeys

 

When people think about customer journeys, often they only think about the acquisition journey. But the customer journey doesn’t end once the customer opens a new bank account, takes out a new loan or gets a new credit card. That first sale is just the beginning.

There's a huge opportunity, particularly within a high-churn market like financial services, to ensure those customers stay customers post-sale, get the most out of the product and take on more products.

This is where personalised service journeys add value. Technology is enabling businesses to connect that single view of the customer with product understanding and trends, to deliver the most relevant offer to the customer, at the most relevant time, via the most relevant channel. And while this is done at a personal level, it’s on a mass scale.

We know that 69% of consumers say that personalised customer care influences their loyalty, so enabling 1:1 personalised service journeys is vital to future success.

Case study: how Positive Lending Group is improving customer experience

 

Positive Lending Group has adopted all three of these strategies.

Escalating competitive pressure to close deals fast saw Positive Lending Group prioritise an omni-channel, digitalised CRM solution. Beforehand, the asset finance company had lots of paper-based processes. For example, if a customer completed a web contact form, that correspondence would be printed out and allocated to a staff member for response. This manual process was slowing the customer interaction down, and customers were moving on to competitors before staff had a chance to reply.

Now, no matter whether a customer gets in contact via SMS, the website, app or online community, Positive Lending Group is able to connect straight away and reply within five minutes. This improved customer experience has had a phenomenal impact on the bottom line and wallet share, with revenue doubling in that first month, and continuing to double year-on-year for the past four years. Furthermore, there’s no sign of this trend dipping – Positive Lending Group is expecting a 220% in growth over the next year.

Find out more about how the best-performing customer service teams are transforming in an era of heightened customer demands. Access the full State of Service report.

Vincent Cotte is Director Go-To-Market Marketing at Salesforce. Read more from Vincent Cotte.