The shift to digital communication is here, and how Financial Institutions interact with their members has definitely changed. With more processes moving to a digital approach, such as member onboarding and opening new accounts, members have digital options like never before. This is further proven by the emergence of online only Financial Institutions such as SoFi, Chime or our friends at Civic FCU. But with this digital shift comes a shift in interaction as well. With a rise in digital processes, the opportunities for human interaction seem to be shrinking. Human interaction is a vital piece for the success of any Financial Institution, as members still want to interact with people for more complex problems, or issues that need empathetic responses. To do so, Financial Institution’s have to change the way ‘human interaction’ is thought of, and retool it to work a definition built for the modern age. Striking a balance between digital engagement and human interaction is essential; here are some things to consider when trying to strike the right balance.
Human Interaction: What’s the Definition?
It seems like a rhetorical question, but the idea of human interaction has shifted in every aspect with the introduction of more and more technology. The same can be said of Financial Institutions, and in-person branches specifically. Traditionally, that ‘human interaction’ would mean either a member drives to a branch to meet with their Financial Institution, or potentially a phone call. But with the introduction of SMS messaging, emails, video chat, co-browsing and more, human interaction can still be had, but in a digital aspect.
Limiting human interaction to only when a member is with your in-person team limits the opportunity to meet the member on their terms.
With a strong Enterprise-Class Digital Communications platform, being able to digitally engage members with human interaction allows Financial Institutions to get the best of both worlds: utilizing modern day technology to maintain crucial human interaction with their members.
Chatbot: When & When Not to Use
Not every engagement touchpoint requires a member to be in direct contact with another human. Simple questions, like checking loan application statuses or updates on hours of operation are queries that an AI chatbot can handle, rather than waiting in a queue for a contact center. Offering members a tool for them to easily access, and one that is dynamic enough to answer small questions represents a great way for your members to stay connected digitally.
But chatbots shouldn’t be a direct replacement for call centers or solely responsible for inbound customer inquiries. For example, if a customer is inquiring about debt relief options due to unforeseen circumstances, having a human to walk them through the next steps is critically important for two reasons: a deepend level of service & the ability to empathize. As smart as AI has become, it cannot replace human emotions, or the level of problem solving intuition that your agents bring. AI should be available to handle the smaller inquiries, so agents have more time to do what they do best, help the customers in a positive and impactful way.
Easy Transitions to Humans
Between chatbots and automated messaging, there comes a point in a member’s journey where they want or need to interact with a human. Like mentioned before, some conversations need human interaction, like onboarding a new member & answering member specific questions. The ability to seamlessly transition a conversation from robotic to human is vital in the success of striking a balance. To do so, we recommend the implementation of an Enterprise-Class Digital Communications platform that can dynamically route incoming inquiries to the proper department. Being able to switch over a conversation from chatbot to agent quickly is not only beneficial to the customer trying to get the best service, but also to your agents, who are always striving to provide the best service. These inquiries that are being passed off to agents should also include the prior chatlog, so agents can take a minute to review the conversation and come more prepared in aiding said member.
With the shift to digital interactions well and truly underway, finding that balance between digital and human is absolutely essential. While AI & other automated digital facet can be a huge boost to member service, they only work if integrated into an overall customer experience plan. At the end of the day, sometimes people need to talk to people, and having the tools to allow your agents to meet members ‘in person’ on their terms, is key. To find out more about how Eltropy is enabling our partners to do just that, request a demo today.