From chatbots and mobile apps to self-service libraries and loan calculators, the current number of available self-service channels for customers of banks and financial institutions has become unrivaled. So, it comes as no surprise that today’s consumers have peak expectations for the level of personalization they’ll now receive from the banking or financial services contact center.   

A recent survey revealed that 82% of banking customers believe that personalization is important to their experience, and 42% expect a seamless experience across all customer service channels. Another 84% of consumers report that being treated “like a person, not a number,” is very important for a financial institution to obtain and retain their business. 

In today’s age of heightened consumer expectations, mobile applications with customizable interfaces and personalized portals have enabled financial institutions to bridge the gap between customers and the information they need most. But what if a customer needs to dial into the contact center? Here’s how to achieve heightened personalization in financial services contact centers. 

Why is Personalization Important in the Contact Center?

Personalization in the contact center refers to delivering timely and relevant call resolution based on previous individual customer experiences and historical contact center data. Personalization efforts among the contact center have been significantly accelerated in recent years, due in part to the increasingly digital nature of customer service transactions, particularly in banks.

The teller window has been largely replaced by mobile applications, with chatbots as the initial point of contact between a bank and its customer. Transactions and customer service requests now take place online at the customer’s convenience, well outside typical contact center hours. As financial services merge online, customers expect institutions to be prepared.

To a large degree, most financial institutions are prepared. The level of self-service technology available through today’s banks, lenders, and collections agencies have surpassed many customer’s expectations for personalized assistance. Personalized customer interactions through self-service technology have led to a 33% increase in both consumer loyalty and customer engagement. 

More than 22% of banking customers turned to online self-service tools during the COVID lockdown, and 80% reported a positive experience. However, the widespread success of self-service applications has left something to be desired of contact center assistance. In fact, 68% of customers now say chatbots could answer their questions more quickly than a human agent could. 

How exactly can personalization be achieved outside of successful self-service ventures? 

Types of Personalization in Banking and Financial Contact Centers

Beyond intelligent chatbot services and adaptable mobile apps, nearly 75% of banking consumers claim a personal virtual financial wellness coach is the ultimate goal of personalization. Though this may be a bit far-fetched in the contact center, there’s certainly steps that contact center operators can take so that agents exude the same financial allyship as their digital counterparts. 

Customers anticipate that when they reach out to the contact center for assistance, the agent on the other end of the line will be aware of their current issue. More than 60% of consumers expect organizations to anticipate their individual needs and 71% want companies to communicate with them in real-time. At the bare minimum, 59% of consumers say personalized engagement based on past interactions is very important to maintaining their business. 

Take a look at how these expectations manifest as different types of personalization in banking and financial contact centers.

1. Prescriptive Personalization 

Prescriptive personalization is the contact center’s ability to anticipate a customer’s wants or needs based on historical data. It applies to both individual customers as well as specific subsets of customers that share demographics or similar buyer behavior. 

Contact centers leverage prescriptive personalization when they refer to previous individual customer transactions across an organization’s customer service network, such as chatbot history, to predict a customer’s needs. 

Contact centers leverage segmentation, the type of prescriptive personalization that applies to a group of customers, when they use historical data to anticipate upcoming service requests for a subset of their customers. 

2. Machine-Learning Personalization

Machine-learning personalization is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables contact centers to make informed customer communication decisions based on previous user behavior. This technology is commonly used to analyze common customer queries, gauge the success of frequently used resolutions, and distribute the most favorable outcome among the contact center.

Many contact centers have begun to utilize machine-learning personalization across self-service channels, namely chat bot tools, to enhance the quality and colloquialism of autonomous responses. For agents on the contact center floor, machine-learning capabilities allow agents to recognize common customer queries or complaints and provide responses that feel genuine, not robotic.

3. Real-Time Personalization

Real-time personalization leverages incoming customer insights alongside historical contact center data to deliver personalized customer service as the call is happening. It helps to identify intent-based language, pauses in call dialogue, and inflections in a customer’s voice to prompt agents with empathetic call flows that fulfill customer needs in the exact moment.

With real-time personalization, agents always have a historically successful call flow in their back pocket to navigate complex user situations. Such personalization enables contact centers to make recommendations while actively speaking with customers to reach a faster call resolution and improve the general customer experience. 

How to Hyper-Personalize Finance-Focused Customer Service 

With multiple types of self-service personalization at play in banking and financial institutions, implementing consumer personalization at scale mandates a reliable technical solution to bridge the gaps between individual customer behavior, historical data, and real-time occurrences. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can do all three — and then some. 

Balto’s Real-Time Guidance solution eliminates the need for financial services contact center operators to worry their customers are treated more like a number than a valuable asset. Balto listens along to each and every incoming call to build an end-to-end experience that integrates customer and operational data, while sharing winning strategies to the team at large.

With the ability to recognize intent-based language — across English and Spanish-speaking customers — Real-Time Guidance can help anticipate a customer’s needs and prompt agents with the right answer, in the right moment. Discover how Balto can personalize your banking or financial services contact center operations by scheduling a demo today.

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