Challenges Facing the Financial Industry

You're dealing with changes in consumer behavior, such as high expectations for omni-channel service, concerns over data security, and a proliferation of marketing channels.

Companies all over the world are coping with drastic shifts in consumer behavior. The financial industry is no exception: Customers have higher expectations than ever before when it comes to ease-of-use across all touchpoints, from websites to mobile apps to interactions with your staff. Customers also have concerns about how their data is used and how well it's protected. Lastly, there have never been so many different communication touchpoints available to brands, giving you more options for customer acquisition and retention -- options that come with their own challenges and learning curves.

Consumers are demanding more sophisticated service.

Banking and financial information is sensitive, personal, and can be emotionally charged. Customers often feel a great sense of urgency about financial questions and want immediate answers. For companies in the financial industry, the pressure is on to provide the kind of ease-of-use consumers have come to expect from today's technology. Consumers now expect that you will instantly know who they are and what they need, and be able to answer questions and provide resolutions on their terms. 

When consumers have a question or problem, their first instinct is to try to find an answer themselves. In fact, 90% of consumers now expect a brand or organization to offer self-service customer support. What's more, customers expect to be able to communicate with self-service interfaces in a natural, conversational way. This trend towards preferring online chat and virtual agents is growing rapidly, according to research from Forrester: From 2012 to 2015, the number of people using online or mobile chat for customer service grew 51% and usage of virtual agents grew 86%.

Nine out of 10 consumers expect a brand or organization to offer self-service customer support.

In order to be able to support the kind of experiences your customers desire, financial organizations need to begin laying the groundwork for bots. According to Forrester analyst Peter Wannemacher, "While bots and their underlying technology are set to get much better over the next few years, banks will not be the companies advancing this technology. That’s not a bad thing: Tech companies are better staffed and equipped to push AI and bots to the next level, and banks can reap the rewards of these advances. Instead, the most important role banks can play is engineering their data and systems to prepare for next-generation bots." An optimal chatbot service experience hinges on business systems that are integrated and reliable.

"The most important role banks can play is engineering their data and systems to prepare for next-generation bots." -Peter Wannemacher

When self-service and chatbots aren't enough, customers want a natural progression through escalation channels. People start communicating in chat, then phone, then video. They do this in their personal lives and want to communicate with your brand in the same way. For example, a customer might use your mobile banking app to check his account activity. He sees a withdrawal he doesn't recognize, and he begins using self-service to search for an answer himself. If he doesn't find one, he can easily click to start a voice or video chat with a live agent who can help him check his account activity. And like 72% of customers, he's going to expect that agent already knows his contact information and history from the moment that support interaction begins.

New marketing channels come with a learning curve.

As social media marketing matures, companies are incorporating social into their multi-platform marketing strategies. And brands that have successfully adopted a multi-channel approach are reaping the benefits: A recent report announced that on average, brands moving from single to multiple digital marketing channels tripled their ROI. In addition, MarketingSherpa found that 61% of revenue comes from multi-touch conversion paths. 

On average, brands moving from single to multiple digital marketing channels tripled their ROI.

Social media is all about immediacy, and social advertising is no exception. DMN News reported that real-time social marketing improved customer experience (73%), increased conversion rates (59%), and improved brand perception (52%). While marketing in real-time presents many opportunities, brands are also struggling to capture and apply in-the-moment social insight. Considering just how much activity takes place on social media every minute of every day (293,000 Facebook status updates, 347,200 tweets, 48,600 Instagram posts, and so on), social media teams often feel awash in a sea of consumer data with no way to interpret it into something useful. Plus, large organizations are not known for their agility -- even if real-time social insights could be derived, your company needs to be agile enough to put them to good use.

Financial institutions need stringent record-keeping and security standards.

Change is the only constant. When financial consumers ask questions, companies like yours may rely on knowledgebases to provide answers -- but as answers and policies change over time, you need to preserve an audit trail of which answer was given to which customer in the past. For example, let's imagine that last month you changed the free structure on your checking accounts. A confused customer asks a question via email, and the responding agent can see she received an answer three months ago before the fee change, an answer that was true at the time but is no longer accurate. The agent is able to understand where she's coming from and better address her confusion.

Understandably, financial institutions are also concerned about protecting sensitive customer information. Often, customer service systems need to use such information to verify customers' identities and answer their pressing questions. It's important for you to fully understand how your vendors' systems safeguard customer privacy and comply with regulations such as PCI DSS.

Customer engagement software addresses these challenges.

Astute Solutions builds customer engagement software for some of the world's biggest brands. Our solutions can help financial brands like yours face the challenges in front of you and improve the experience for your customers.

Helping customers find their own answers. Financial consumers expect quick answers when it comes to their money. They're also accustomed to finding answers when and where they want them. Astute's software allows you to provide the right answer every time through self-service on your website, in your mobile app, or via messaging apps. If they can't find what they're looking for, it's easy for them to seamlessly transition to talking with a live agent who already has the context of who they are and what they need.

Keeping answers accurate. The same knowledgebase that helps customers answer their own questions (such as, "What's my account balance?" and "Should I refinance my mortgage?") also supplies your employees with reliable, accurate information that changes with your business -- and even tracks past responses in an audit trail, reducing your risk. 

Real-time social media marketing. Astute's social listening tool brings order to the chaos of social media activity, synthesizing unstructured data into actionable market insights. Monitor the buzz around your brand and your advertising in real-time, and use the same social platform to modify campaigns or create new ones according to the insights you glean.


Astute knows how to help financial companies win. Schedule a free demo today.