This article originally appeared in Bank Automation News; read it here.
While the Great Resignation has created staffing challenges across multiple sectors within banking, it has disproportionately affected customer service. Despite being an ideal position for remote home workers, many banks have struggled to retain service representatives and find new talent to replace those who leave.
It becomes a vicious cycle as staffing shortages put even more strain on the remaining team, who in turn consider leaving. Where banks have made the customer experience a top priority, suddenly the employee experience takes precedence. That might feel like a defensive posture, emphasizing employee needs to simply maintain basic customer service. But in fact, the customer experience and employee experience have been strongly entwined all along.
Banks that are able to improve their employee experience will be able to attract strong customer service representatives, survive and even thrive in the Great Resignation and ultimately improve their overall customer experience as well. To do that, banks need to go beyond simply offering higher salaries and better perks. They need to help the customer service team become more strategic with work that is more satisfying and fulfilling.
If customers are frustrated, consider that the service reps are also disheartened. Especially when they do not have the tools to adequately help their customers. In addition to being convenient and popular, digital communications channels also enable collaboration features, such as screen sharing and CoBrowsing that can accelerate engagements and improve the overall experience for both reps and customers alike. Unfortunately, most banks still prioritize the traditional phone for customer service.
Offering phone-first service when most customers prefer digital communications is increasingly causing friction. Asking a customer in a live chat session to make a phone call to resolve a dispute, for example. Consider the poor service rep who answers that call, has to re-verify identity and ask the now disgruntled customer to explain the situation all over again. In a recent Salesforce study, 65% complained about having to repeat or re-explain information to different reps. It’s not only bad for the customer, but unpleasant for the service staff.
Now imagine if that service rep could resolve the dispute in a single, seamless engagement online. Rather than breaking the digital connection, the rep simply transitions the customer from chat to OnScreen voice or video with CoBrowsing to guide them through their online journey. This removes friction, improves clarity, and creates a digital customer experience that doesn’t force the customer to restart all over again. Some customer service engagements are stressful enough to begin with—suspicious activity alerts, late payments or bank errors, for example. Why add more anxiety for both customers and bank employees through a disconnected experience?
The real problem is that customers increasingly want to communicate digitally, yet most banks offer a phone-first customer service solution that drives customers to use the phone. Digital Customer Service (DCS) has emerged as a digital-first solution that allows customers to engage the bank from their preferred screen, which is increasingly a mobile device. Rather than forcing customers to call into the bank, service reps keep them OnScreen and transition across channels, as appropriate, to support them through the engagement. Better yet, they can proactively guide them with collaboration tools that increase resolution rates. The result is both a better customer and employee experience.
Dover Federal in Delaware recently deployed a Digital Customer Service platform alongside its traditional contact center. Management quickly noticed a spike in employee satisfaction among service reps supporting digital channels. In fact, phone reps were starting to get envious. To avoid morale issues and improve the employee experience, the institution went all in with Digital Customer Service.
The staff has handled a 13% increase in engagements, even as the team grew smaller through natural attrition. Average wait and average handle times have continued to decrease. Most importantly, the customer service team is more satisfied and employee retention has remained high. Even recruiting has gotten easier.
Many have suspected for years now that the customer experience and employee experience are closely linked. As more banks align to their customers’ digital lifestyles and equip their service teams with the Digital Customer Service tools they require to meet customer needs, we’ll see even more compelling evidence of how this helps both the customer and employee experience. And boosts the bank’s bottom line to boot!