Financial services organisations are increasingly prioritising digital-first journeys to meet their customers’ expectations of a fast and convenient online experience.
In this shift toward digitalisation, organisations are rapidly embracing self-service tools, like chatbots, that promise to deliver a convenient customer journey. But one negative chatbot experience is not only a barrier to a smooth customer journey – it also risks seeing customers voting with their feet.
Financial services organisations risk falling short of the needs of their wide-ranging customer base by failing to ensure that all customer experience (CX) channels are working as intended. To avoid this and ensure a consistently flawless CX, financial organisations need to apply rigorous testing, monitoring, and assurance to all channels of the customer journey, as they regularly change and evolve.
Understanding and meeting diverse customer needs
Considering ongoing economic challenges, such as the looming threat of a recession in the UK, many organisations are having to do more with less. And with many people struggling with financial hardship due to the cost-of-living crisis, this ultimately means key financial institutions, like banks, will be seeing a significant increase in customer enquiries. As such, it is more important than ever to deliver a flawless customer experience that meets the needs of their customers.
At the same time, established banks are facing increased competition from newer FinTech organisations. In fact, Ipsos Mori
published independent research showing that 81% of customers in Great Britain rank Monzo and Starling number one for overall service quality.
While digital banking is convenient for many customers, it provides further opportunity for friction in the customer journey. Whether it’s a faulty web form or an unhelpful chatbot – it can be a recipe for CX disaster for banks. At the same time, the January 2023 UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) found that, in the banking sector specifically, there is a long-term relationship between customer satisfaction and net current account gains. So banks really can’t afford to skimp on their CX.
Chatbots and other CX channels
With the implementation of customer service chatbots, banks have been able to more efficiently manage simple customer queries. Chatbots powered by conversational artificial intelligence (AI) are a great way for banks to handle a large volume of customer queries while keeping costs low. Chatbots are available to answer customers 24/7 and are more cost efficient than human staff. And with AI and machine learning, chatbots can be trained to answer more increasingly complex customer queries.
Despite the many benefits chatbots can bring to businesses and customers, they are failing to live up to their potential and frequently leaving customers feeling frustrated,
according to a recent commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cyara which found that nearly 40% of chatbot experiences are viewed as negative. The main issue, the study reveals, is that although customers want to use chatbots, businesses are currently not doing enough to ensure a positive chatbot experience. Nearly three quarters (74%) of customers surveyed agree that chatbots can’t handle complex questions, and half of all customers said they are often frustrated by their experience using chatbots. So clearly, it’s not enough for banks to simply invest in a customer service chatbot and claim it’s “job done”.
To ensure a positive chatbot experience, banks and other financial organisations need to properly train their chatbots on how to understand customer intent. Due to the diverse and complex nature of human queries, this takes large amounts of training data. This data can be found from a range of sources, including customer chat logs, website requests, SMS, email and any other documentation on how customers type out their requests.
However, to deliver a positive CX overall, financial organisations must ensure that all the channels their customers use are working correctly, both independently and as part of a joined-up omnichannel experience. The most effective way to do this is through automated CX testing.
Assuring all parts of the customer journey
Software defects are impossible to avoid entirely. What’s important is that banks and other financial institutions find and fix any issues in the customer journey as early as possible so they don’t become a hindrance to the CX.
An automated, continuous testing approach is key here. However, many banks are still employing traditional, manual testing which involves clearly defined hand-off phases between development and quality assurance (QA) teams. But this is incredibly costly and inefficient. As an alternative, continuous testing tests every stage of the development lifecycle to evaluate the quality and stability of software. Automated testing also frees up time for engineers and testers to focus on more important tasks and other critical business objectives.
By testing every stage of the CX lifecycle – from the development of a CX product, to its launch and throughout ongoing use – banking organisations can catch and fix any issues before they damage the customer experience, and the brand’s reputation as a result.
A flawless customer experience cannot be obtained without testing. And, by testing at every stage of the customer journey, banks can successfully reduce risk, whilst saving time, money and the trust of their customers.