A People-First Approach to Digital Banking in Asia

By Ravi Saraogi, Co-Founder and President of Uniphore APAC | 13 January 2022

Ravi Saraogi

Co-Founder and President of Uniphore APAC

The consumer and business shift to digital payments is permanent. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, amongst the region’s internet users, 8 out of 10 are digital consumers. Moreover, financial services players continue to be critical enablers in this shift, with 9 in 10 digital merchants now accepting digital payments, and most merchants who use digital financial services intending to continue or increase usage.

The result of this is a massive increase in technology adoption and innovation, which in turn is reshaping the banking experience as we currently understand it. This change is taking place unexpectedly quickly, driving significant benefits such as user experience, safety, as well as speed. On the other hand, this also means that contact centres are now the main – and sometimes only – human touchpoint for customers, as digital banking becomes commonplace.

With these factors in play, optimising human-to-human conversations is fundamental to creating positive and discerning experiences that encourage and drive customer satisfaction, as well as loyalty. With this in mind, what steps should contact centres in the banking industry think about to ensure that they are able to enhance customers experience (CX), while also procuring tangible and continuous value to the business?

Prioritising empathy in customer-agent conversations

An important starting point is the belief that delivering great CX should be a fundamental imperative to the business. This includes perfecting deep impassioned connections to products and brands to help instill customer loyalty and business growth. To be successful in this endeavour, banks should ensure that they adopt intelligent tools to be able to genuinely understand customer needs, behaviours, and motivations.

One such example is Conversational artificial intelligence (AI), which provides organisations with the ability to understand customer desire, emotions, and feelings. In practice, this works by evaluating customers vocal cues in real-time, providing agents with valuable access to in-call coaching alerts and deeper insights into how customers may be feeling. This is essential as agents have a deeper understanding of their needs, thereby providing the opportunity to be more empathetic when engaging with customers. Conversational AI also has the added benefit of being able to recommend products and services that are most relevant and useful to the customer by referencing a database of customer engagement history.

In addition, the integration of an automation platform with Conversational AI can significantly improve a bank’s contact centre by providing personalised and decisive experiences that drive and improve customer satisfaction levels.

Streamlining agent productivity

A further example of how Conversational AI can be beneficial is through the automation of out of office hours requests and call disposition across high significance banking experiences, such as mortgage refinance and applications.

Conversational Automation technology has the ability to listen and transcribe conversations in real-time and then immediately deliver a summary of the call to an agent for amendment and confirmation purposes. This in turn, helps enhance call summary accuracy while also giving agents more scope to focus on the customer conversation, rather than manually transcribing the interaction and needs of the customer in question.

Furthermore, with streamlined scripting, banks can significantly accelerate customer resolution, which frees up agents giving them the ability to handle and track additional call outcomes to maintain quality interactions, reduce handling time, while also shortening customer wait times.

Keeping track on commitments made to customers

Equipped with Conversational AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities, a Conversational Automation platform augments the automation of promise management. Examples include providing credit on refinancing a home mortgage, reducing closing fees on a loan, or setting up a customer appraisal. Non-automated tasks after the call, such as updating customer relationship databases and logging customer call details, can also be efficiently and effectively managed by the platform to improve agent productivity and overall business outcomes for the banks.  

The automatic logging of commitments made in real-time facilitates the alignment of customer expectations and agents are far better equipped to guarantee that the required follow-up takes place efficiently to address their enquiries, reducing the need for repeated calls and improving customer satisfaction.

Reading between the ‘digital’ lines

Through the adoption of AI, contact centres can gain broad and significant insights into customer interactions by examining and analysing customer conversations across multiple channels. AI-powered platforms also have the ability to improve agent performance reducing the need for weeks and months of classroom training and on-boarding, by advising and informing them on proposed actions while automating repetitive tasks. This not only allows businesses to gain valuable insights to identify trending topics and behavior patterns, but also minimises – or even eliminates – expensive human-errors that may happen due to under trained or overworked agents.

Using a Conversational Automation platform that includes analytics for voice, email, and chat interactions can help reveal the tangible rationale for customer churn, accurately identify complaints and uncover problems that negatively or positively impact satisfaction levels. This results in ensuring that agents consistently deliver quality customer service, while adhering to necessary regulations.

The adoption of digital banking will only increase in 2022. Interestingly, customer needs, preferences, and behaviours will likely stay the same this year and beyond, even if the financial landscape continues to significantly and rapidly evolve. Customers still want some form of rapport with their bank based on trust and personalisation, which is where the human touch comes in. Banks should therefore focus on optimising both their digital and human touchpoints through the adoption of AI and automation, to achieve seamless CX and generate strong customer loyalty for the long term.