Millions of customers and businesses last year found themselves in a situation where they needed their banks’ dependability and support more than ever due to the pandemic. Consumers will now put their trust in the banks that were flexible and agile during numerous lockdowns, providing outstanding service despite the difficulties they were experiencing.
But it wasn’t an easy route. At the beginning of 2020, the biggest challenge was learning a new, secure method of working remotely while still providing client service. In many banks during this interim time, customer service suffered significantly.
There was little to no call centre available when users tried to contact their bank. According to Wim Geukens, Managing Director of VeriPark Europe, a solutions provider committed to revolutionising banks’ client experiences through cutting-edge digital technology, everything was down since the bank had not yet switched to voice over IP and remote working. There were also significant problems in Europe, where the hardware capacity of the VPN was so inadequate that, in one example, just a small percentage of the bank’s 6,000 employees could connect to the system.
Banks acted swiftly to invest in the technology required to work productively from home when situations like these occurred all across the world, transforming their operating models with the help of financial technology suppliers like VeriPark and Microsoft. After that, everything resumed as planned. Now that the hybrid model is taking shape, Geukens predicts that many banks will continue to use remote working in some form, whether it is permanently or just sometimes.
Branches are also changing at the same time. During the pandemic, many customers discovered that they didn’t need to visit the bank for every single service request because many tasks can now be completed more quickly and easily by phone or through a digital channel. The pandemic has merely intensified the strong trend toward this contemporary method of banking that already existed. Additionally, just as the branch’s future is being rewritten, so is the image of customer service.
A modernised customer service paradigm
According to Bohumil Hyanek, Managing Director, VeriPark Germany, before COVID, banks were investing heavily in digitising their transactional skills, but they weren’t investing too much in their servicing capabilities. Back then, they could still rely on their branch for service. All of that has changed. Banks are currently aware that they need to focus far more on the sales and customer service aspects outside of the branch.
For instance, Amazon Germany and Barclaycard recently began letting customers pay for more expensive items in instalments at the point of sale by utilising the omni-channel banking solution’s APIs from VeriPark. This boosted Amazon’s sales and brought Barclaycard more clients.
However, digitization might become considerably more difficult when it comes to providing customer service. Hyanek recommends that banks begin by automating the more basic service requests first. The best customer service, in his opinion, can only be provided if personnel have access to crucial client data across all channels in a synchronised view. With its VeriLink system, which connects the backends of numerous channels to deliver 360-degree views of client interactions for smooth service, VeriPark has addressed this need. As an alternative to in-branch meetings that is both safe and more comfortable for the client, video conferencing has become more popular in several areas. Geukens continues, video can now be incorporated with other features and functions. They can use it for onboarding customers. Machine learning compares the real person to the image on the passport when they view the video and place the passport close to their face, the speaker explains.
Meanwhile, the branch continues to play a significant role. According to Hyanek, the branches will need to transition to higher-value offerings. They are still a crucial point of contact for customers to address issues that cannot be resolved through other channels. Mortgages, investments, and other complicated items that are harder to automate will be affected.
Bank consultants also need to adjust to that approach. Instead of managing money, they should work with the consumer as a partner and assist them with their financial affairs. To break down bank barriers and gain access to all the consumer information required to improve the lives of customers, all this transformation will need to be backed by the appropriate technologies.