I’ve been involved one way or another within the customer service industry for the majority of my career and while there have been times that companies I have worked for have had no issues with the level of communication from clients, they are in the minority.
The common denominator in any form of customer support is that clients expect reliable answers to given questions in a timely manner. In recent years, the timely manner has altered from an satisfactory 1-2 day response time to people expecting almost immediate answers to commonly asked questions.
This post tells my story in the finance sector (specifically banking) where I experienced an exceptionally high number of client queries. s.
In banking, customer contact levels can at times reach extreme levels that can easily burn out staff and lead to a financial institution’s reputation being severely damaged. The two biggest reasons for contact being so high and important - not only to these institutions but to their clients - are:
- You are looking after that client’s personal finances. Whether they have $1 or $1 million held with you, they expect more from you than any other company.
- Your clients are not able to understand your T&C’s, your concept, or potentially lack trust in your institution as a business.
Traditional bank - Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
I joined the CBA after a long period of working in a separate industry. My goal of moving into the banking sector was to put myself in a position where I could help people with better service than I had received as a client - not at the Commonwealth, but at other institutions.
There are many people who still believe that banking service is based upon having to visit an actual brick and mortar branch to get an answer to questions regarding their personal finances. While that is true in some ways, this type of contact represents fewer than 10 per cent of customer contacts.
People are turning more and more to technology for their daily banking needs; a major issue I have come across when either working as an agent and/or leading teams and departments was that the backlogs and large numbers of daily customer contacts were, at times, too much to handle.
While the larger traditional bank I worked for was, for the majority of times, able to handle the volumes coming in within the standard 80/20 service level, the only way they were able to manage those numbers was by investing into properties housing large teams of support staff that were spread across several locations.
Even then, we still had times where calls and emails would be coming in at such a frequency that staff were struggling to press hold on their system to be able to take a break or get a glass of water. A lot of those calls and emails were the same as I cover further on in this post: basic repetitive questions that technology,in particular Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots, could have dealt with.
Challenger bank Monese
One of the biggest reasons that I joined Monese was that it gave me the opportunity to work with an exciting new concept of banking and an institution that was willing to take on traditional banks by ensuring that access to an account was not prolonged or declined based on something as small as being new to a country.
My friend and the CEO and Founder of Monese Norris Koppel has kindly contributed an insight into Monese and it is greatly appreciated.
“I launched Monese in 2015, after the frustrations I experienced when trying to open a bank account, after moving from Estonia to the UK. Monese is a banking service that gives people the financial freedom to thrive anywhere, wherever they may be. More and more people expect this financial freedom, as they find themselves in new places – be it for work, family, study, travel, business, or retirement.
“From day one, I built Monese as a global business, but I also wanted it to be customer-centric, for two reasons. First, we knew that there was a real desire for people to bank in their native language, wherever they may be. Second, we knew that some financial products and services are local, so customers will always want some help at the end of the phone, email or in-app.
“Building a smart, scalable and international customer support team was critical to this and it’s something we’re always working on. We introduced our 14th language a few months ago, and we will continue to add many more languages and services as we grow.”
At Monese, I was tasked with building and heading up a superstar support team that would offer far superior service quality than anything ever seen before or offered by a traditional bank. Monese offers an exciting and revolutionary product and account that continues to grow and excite millions of users. the beginning, running the business was stressful because we had much higher than expected contact from customers.
When developing an entirely new solution, you put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that you are prepared for all scenarios. Prior to launch, the support team calculated contact levels a few percentage points higher than an average legacy bank’s volumes.However, we did not envision the onslaught that would come our way.
Our leader Norris - I call him a leader and not a boss as he was very open to receiving input from all of us pioneers to ensure we had the best product and service available at that time - put an awesome team together that shared the same vision and principles which ended up creating one of the most exciting companies and projects that I have ever been involved with thus far. I will always look back on it and say that I helped create something great.
To alleviate people's concerns and questions, the entire team at Monese worked extremely hard to get things right and had prepared and released a great deal of material about the accounts along with a great help guide. The issue was that the vast majority of clients did not read any of those pieces of information and got caught up in the euphoria of something new and exciting.
When the questions started flooding in, we started looking for ways to try and soften the blow of the endless amounts of repetitive questions coming in 24/7. At the same time, we had to remain within budget with the limited staff we had at that time.
Being a technology product driven company that placed great emphasis on delivering the best customer experience, we embraced different forms of technology and suppliers to help. Some of them were awesome, others not so much.
The percentage of customer queries received by my department was at times hovering between 40 & 50 per cent of our client base on a monthly basis, which when you compare to a legacy bank that averages between 3-7 per cent, the numbers were mind boggling. We struggled at times to provide the service quality that was needed and to also ensure backlogs were at manageable levels. But we found a way to ensure our clients were happy and that the brand was protected.
One thing we introduced as a result was video calling to reduce the need for repeat email and telephone contact during the customer identification process.
While the identification part did reduce the numbers slightly, the one thing that we continued to struggle with were those basic questions that the financial service sector gets daily. Some examples are:
- Why is my deposit not showing?
- How long does it take for my purchase to show on my account?
- I transferred to a friend and they have not received the money.
- My card has not arrived.
- Where is my referral bonus?
These are all extremely important questions and can and should be extremely easy to answer. The biggest issue is that people expect an answer fast when using an app or internet banking. This goes back to my previous line, where I said: “You are looking after that clients’ personal finances. Whether they have $1 or $1 million held with you, they expect more from you than any other company”
Why did I join ChatCreate
When thinking about my next challenge, I wanted to help customer support teams alleviate the dreaded pain of dealing with repetitive support tickets over and over.
I looked at other AI companies and chatbot providers within the marketplace and while they all had their niche, they and their products did not excite me as much as ChatCreate did. The biggest factors for me in joining were an awesome team with a solution that actually works as it should and uses natural language processing (NLP) and AI in the way they were designed to be used.
At ChatCreate, I have again been lucky enough to find a group of dedicated people, who work together as a team and have created an awesome solution. Our team are product people and place a huge emphasis on getting things right and always being available to each other and to our great clients.
We are ready to talk with companies that may need something extra in their setup and in the majority of instances we are able to build those features in at absolutely no cost to a company. While we also focus on growth, it is important for us to grow with our clients. While we may have different roles, we all understand that like any business without happy staff and clients, your business hurdles will be greater than they should be.
Our solution has been designed to be simple and easy to use in a way that can not only help the smallest of companies but also multinationals that are growing and expanding faster than they can fill seats to service clients. We have managed to be able to this with absolutely no setup costs to companies joining us and with two simple subscription options: our essentials pack, which is pay as you use, and our more advanced enterprise pack.
New beginnings and what the future holds
With both of these finance companies I had enjoyable and also extremely stressful times and while everyone always strived to do their absolute best - from the CEO down to the newest employee - we did not have simple options available like ChatCreate to help our brand ambassadors in servicing our most valuable asset: our clients.
At ChatCreate, being customer focussed to us is key and we work with every single client to ensure that our solution works how they need it to. We go out of our way to assist in every way we can to not only help you grow, but to ensure your reputation as a provider of excellent services increases.
With some Chatbots you can expect to pay several thousands just in development costs followed by a one off integration fee before you can set it live. While the upfront cost is one thing, you are still in the meantime struggling with existing enquiries.
Our simple solution can be integrated with your current helpdesk in a few minutes and the automation process for answering of questions can be completed in less than an hour depending on the amount of automation you decide upon. Oh and by the way it can be operational 24/7!
We have the tool, that you have been looking for and we are the only bot that you can begin using without any extra delay. Supercharge your support now and Register today for a free trial