Long gone are the days when the only way to handle your finance products was either in the bank or via a financial adviser. Consumers now have more ways than ever to handle their finances now.
Despite the rise of new digital ways to communicate with your business (email, form fills, live chat, instant messenger), the phone is still at the fore when it comes to eliciting customer response.
Last year the UK population spent 211 billion minutes on the phone – split between 65 billion minutes on landlines, and 146 billion minutes on mobiles. On average the UK population spends 60 hours a year each on the phone – and around 0.2% of their life.
The move to the alternative methods of communication with a financial services organisation has been accompanied by a move to self-service. This has had some benefits for providers:
- Lowered FTE headcount
- Easier monitoring and compliance recording
- Linking digital marketing to online activity is simple
But how do you reconcile these benefits with the amount of time people still spend on the phone – a method of getting in contact that customers like using?
If you make it difficult to call, you remove trust which is critical in financial services, especially where more complex products are involved. Would you take out a pension or mortgage without getting some human advice?
The phone should regain its pre-eminent role in your customer comms toolkit due to massive changes in technology which complement the ‘online only’ experience.
Lowered FTE headcount
Self service works well when the process is simple, such as uploading documentation, checking balances, etc. However, where a transaction becomes more complicated, there’s an increasing need for people to talk to people. Understanding the correct balance between what someone wants to do for themselves compared to needing to talk to a member of staff is key.
Furthermore, while self-service is being driven by digital natives, baby boomers tend to be the ones with more capital to invest and are most comfortable with the phone. They want to talk to humans.
Easier monitoring and compliance recording
Historically it has been the case that it’s easy to monitor form fills and other digital response mechanisms to ensure compliance. However, the tools now exist that allow for similar monitoring of phone calls. These are based around having call recordings that can be transcribed using speech recognition technology. These transcriptions can split out both sides of the call and be analysed for quality and empathy, which can help drive up the service offered.
Linking digital marketing to online activity is simple
It used to be difficult to match online marketing spend to inbound call activity due to the disconnect of the phone number from the digital world. Now, with dynamic numbers, calls can now be instantly linked from marketing to a sale, and into your CRM system. This means that, just like digital marketing activities, you can attain 100% attribution, 100% of the time from phone calls. With this knowledge, you finally get a complete view of where your marketing spend can be better refined and focused.
If the phone is not at the centre of your financial services marketing, maybe now is the time to review how you can re-establish its’ prominence in your response mix. Do this and not only will you have a better understanding of your return on your marketing spend, you’ll add a further layer of trust which is at the heart of your brand.