The Leaders in Technology Adoption
Banking is an integral part of everyday life for most people, whether making a deposit or credit card payment, servicing a loan or insurance premium, or cashing a check. In today’s technologically driven world, most of these tasks are performed outside of the local branches. Today’s financial service customers want flexibility so that they can connect on their own time. Whether in the office, at home, or during a daily commute, customers are staying connected through technology. Every industry sector is taking advantage of these new technologies to provide more capabilities, and the Banking Industry is no exception. As reported by Intuit Financial Services’ Third Annual Online Financial Management Survey, only 20% of customers physically visit their bank branch on a regular basis, meaning that they are using technology to handle a majority of their financial business.
Only 20% of customers visit their bank branch on a regular basis
Companies within the banking industry face many challenges to provide quick and secure service, including:
- Customers prefer to make payment arrangements on past due bills discretely by phone.
- Conventional outbound IVRs are unable to reliably decipher between a call answered by voice mail system and one answered by a human.
- Accessing information regarding account status (next payment, past payment, balance due, etc.) must be quick, easy, and secure.
- Providing mortgage servicing tools 24/7, enabling customers to make mortgage payments or cure mortgages that have defaulted at any time of day.
- Offering customers the ability to request new credit or credit line increases securely.
Past due bills and premiums can be a source of embarrassment for customers who may not otherwise be able to afford to pay the full amount or simply forgot to do so. Receivables are obviously a drain on the bottom line of a financial institution. An IVR should be able to communicate with the customer clearly and to effectively get the customer’s account into good standing using the same business rules as a live agent. Past due bills can be a touchy situation, and we’ve found that customers prefer to deal with it privately and quickly through the use of automation. Giving your customers the option to call in 24/7 and bring their account status current is the best way to ensure customers are satisfied and delinquency is minimized.
Outbound Account Alerts
Inbound banking calls often have great completion rates, but outbound call completion rates have plenty of room for improvement. Unfortunately, most IVR systems are unable to determine if an outbound call to the customer is actually being answered by a human or by a voicemail system; a good IVR solution must be able to properly differentiate. Further, the outbound calls should also contact customers immediately and automatically when they face risks, such as overdrawing their account or missing a payment due date. In the event the customer cannot be reached, the system should automatically dial an alternate line or re-try the customer at various times to ensure the customer is reached in a timely manner and receives the message.
Credit Card or Loan Payoffs
The last few years have seen a general decrease in indebtedness, and a major contributor to this decrease is loan payoffs. As customers look to get out of revolving or installment debt, they are looking to find out balances and payoff amounts. A good IVR can provide timely information as well as payment options, all within the same conversation and without the need for speaking to a live agent.
Credit Line (New Accounts and Increases)
The demand for lines of credit is ever-increasing. Now more than ever, customers are utilizing credit to pay for basic living expenses. Creditcards.com found that, “Demand for consumer credit grew 21.4 percent in Q2-2012 from the same period a year earlier.” With a high demand for consumer credit, automation can help reduce the number of inbound calls to creditors by handling basic customer inquiries. Going one step further, banks can help expedite credit application processes by automating the pre-screening process of a prospective customer’s credit history. For those who are seeking to increase their credit limits, this same process can be utilized to reduce inbound call traffic, allowing live agents to handle other, more complex customer inquiries.
Defaults and the corresponding write-offs continuously affect financial institution’s bottom line. Calling customers early when there is a high risk for missed payments can serve as a proactive way to guard against defaults. When a person has a tendency to pay his installment debt on a certain date but his ACH fails, it can trigger a flag for more active engagement with the customer. IVRs have the potential to reach customers and help improve on-time payments.
Automating mortgage services like accepting and recording payments, modifying mortgages, negotiating payments on defaulted mortgages, or simply providing customer service as it relates to mortgage services can help many companies decrease their live agent call volume – but only if the automated service is done right. Other applications that can be automated include updating credit card information, change/set-up monthly payment, and refinancing options. In addition, automation is far less costly and can provide customers with a great experience that is comparable to, if not better than, a live agent.