Transforming the Financial Services Client Experience with Chat and AI


A Guide for the Financial Services Sector

Transforming the Financial Services Client Experience with Chat and AI

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Chapter 3

Live chat best practices

Increasingly, many clients want service in different ways at different times – with the freedom to move between different devices and channels whether on the phone, online or in-branch.

Client experience is the new brand. The reality is that tech-savvy clients are far more likely to judge how easy getting service and support from their bank is by comparing it to other experiences like paying a phone bill online or ordering food on a delivery app.

With these services now setting the bar for customer experience, financial institutions are no longer just competing with others in the financial services industry, they’re being compared to every experience that their client has ever had.

Live chat is a must for any financial institution. Those that aren’t using it are already behind, while those that are can still step up their game. The following live chat benchmarks will help you see how you stack up, split into different team sizes to help paint a more accurate picture of current service standards.

“Members love the ease of being able to be anywhere and connect with us over chat instead of having to go into a branch or calling in. They really enjoy the convenience of live chat overall. We’ve received nothing but positive responses.”

Jasmina Duric
Manager of E-Services and Support Department, Lake Michigan Credit Union

Use these benchmarks and our best practices to help shape your live chat strategy.

Live Chat Client Satisfaction

One of the keys to increasing live chat client satisfaction is personalization. Financial institutions need to see live chat as more than just a basic messaging channel.

With intelligent routing and segmentation features, you can easily match the client to the right department without the need for an IVR maze. When you’re setting up segmentation and routing for your live chat instance, consider these factors:

  1. Routing by geography (Region, country, city, )
  2. Routing by language (English, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Dutch, Spanish, )
  3. Routing by interaction history (New VS returning visitor)
  4. Routing by department (Mortgages, credit cards, loans, troubleshooting, )
  5. Routing by customer status (VIP clients and high net worth accounts)

Keep in mind none of these are mutually exclusive. Financial institutions can personalize their conversations and address specific needs with all these parameters, or a combination of them all, set up in intent-based routing.

By sending clients to the right person the first time and cutting out the need to manually enter numbers, clients will get a much more personalized, automated experience.

Live Chat Wait Time

According to CCW’s latest Disruptive Technology Report, low wait times are one of the top signs of a great client experience.

This is a metric where live chat could potentially have the most impact on your business, but only when done right. Chat concurrency is a unique feature that phone simply does not have. While agents can only take phone calls one at a time, they can handle multiple chats concurrently.

That said, when starting off we recommend a limit of three concurrent chats until you have a sense of agent capacity. Trying to push your agents too far too fast may reduce wait times in the short term but could be detrimental to your first chat resolution (FCR) and client satisfaction scores in the long term.

After you understand your team’s capacity for concurrent chats, keep in mind these factors:

  • Staff your agents well to be prepared for the peaks and valleys of chat Phone call volume and website traffic are good ways to predict when more live chat agents will be needed.
  • If your agents are overloaded with FAQs, consider adding a chatbot to free up your agents to handle more complex questions and cut wait times while keeping overhead low

Live Chat Average Chats Per Month

Your standard for average chats per month can and will differ depending on your use case. If you’re using live chat for pure FAQ deflection, your best bet is to add a chatbot to your client experience strategy.

However more often than not, when a financial institution deploys live chat, the number of inquiries from other channels do not go down. This is mainly because live chat taps into an audience that never would have picked up the phone to call for service or support in the first place.

Offering live chat as a channel opens up a brand-new audience that financial institutions were not able to reach before, creating opportunities for expansion and growth.

An example of a financial institution that has successfully used live chat to expand their reach is The Cumberland Building Society. Thanks to live chat, The Cumberland has achieved a client satisfaction score of 4.7/5 (11.9% higher than the overall benchmark across all team sizes) and significantly increased their mortgage business by engaging with their clients through live chat. They’ve also collected valuable feedback thanks to live chat’s built-in pre- and post-chat survey capabilities.

“I don’t recommend that agents multitask across channels – expecting agents to handle, say, chats and emails at the same time usually leads to fragmented attention and reduced quality. But given the similar flow and style of communication used within chats, experienced agents may be able to take between five to seven chats at once, making the most of ‘down time’ in conversations and providing good customer service across multiple communications at a time.”

Kaye Chapham
Learning and Development Manager, Comm100

Live Chat on Mobile

Millions of people log into mobile banking every single day, with 59% of clients stating they prefer it over visiting a branch in person or calling in to check their balance. Mobile chat is a fundamental part of a successful client experience strategy and is a channel that should not be ignored when deploying live chat.

The chat experience will look completely different on mobile versus desktop. Financial institutions should take care to ensure all the design elements are optimized for mobile, or else they risk providing frustrating and negative experiences when users are trying to reach out for support.

Furthermore, financial institutions should also be as accessible or even more accessible through mobile chat as they are through live chat. This includes not only deploying live chat on their mobile website, but also in their mobile banking app as well.

Lake Michigan Credit Union, for example, integrated live chat with their mobile app to provide members with native support. Their members love getting answers over mobile chat because it’s easier and more convenient for them.

“62% of The Cumberland’s chat users said they would not have picked up the phone to call if chat was not available. Think about how you and your staff communicate in business and personally. It’s all about messaging and conversations. You need to get there.”

Bob Matthews
Customer Experience Manager, The Cumberland Building Society

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