Companies in the financial service industry can improve conversion rates and build customer loyalty by delivering high-quality financial customer service. Customer service allows your business to draw in new prospects as well as keep your current customers satisfied. Following a few best practices to ensure that your customers enjoy working with you no matter how busy you are.
One of the most pressure-filled seasons for financial service companies is tax season. Tax preparers spend considerable amounts of time helping customers understand tax codes, while banks pull interest and mortgage statements and consultants see an increase in portfolio assessments. Plus, 401K plan providers provide forms and statements. So much goes into helping one person file their taxes! Although the amount of requests increases exponentially during this time, it is possible to provide the same high level of customer service with the help of a few best practices.
Optimize the Customer Journey
Before you can effectively improve customer service, your organization needs to define what superior service looks like with each interaction a customer could have. What challenges and specific goals do your customers have? What does each interaction look like and is the tone and message right? Before you can improve the customer experience, you first need to understand the customer and their needs. Tax season can be a stressful time for many customers and you don’t want that stress to be associated with your company. Making the process of accomplishing tasks with your financial institution simple and easy will go a long way toward making a dreaded task less painful.
Strengthen Communication Skills
Communication is one of the most important qualities that determine the level of customer service your financial institution delivers. Your customers should always know that you’re actively listening and trying to help them find the solution that is best for them.
Communication skills are critical when it comes to delivering bad news. Agents and representatives may need to alert customers that they are the victim of fraud, that their mortgage can’t be processed, or that their loan has been denied. Offering explanations and next steps with empathy will ensure that customers know they are still valued members of your financial institution.
During tax season, there are many complex and confusing concepts. Be sure to avoid any industry jargon and instead explain concepts with simple language. Make sure customers are following what you’re saying and allow them time to ask questions. Other communication skills for agents to develop include:
- Using positive language
- Keeping customers engaged
- Setting expectations
- Resolving conflicts
- Being consistent
- Displaying empathy
- Being proactive
- Staying patient
Empower Agents and Advisors
Your agents and advisors are on the front lines of customer interactions and have a massive impact on financial customer service. As a result, they need to have a strong understanding of your financial institution's products and services. This will give them the ability to answer questions accurately and help customers make the most informed decisions. This is especially relevant for tax season, as customers may have questions that differ from the standard inquiries that are unrelated to taxes. For contact center agents, a centralized knowledge base will help them be prepared to answer any kind of question without much previous experience.
Additional ways to empower agents and advisors include:
- Building an omnichannel presence
- Practicing real-world applications of training
- Segmenting customer inquiries by service or product
- Holding frequent training refresher sessions
Build Customer Trust
When it comes to financial advice and transactions, customers must trust you and your organization. This makes trustworthiness one of the most important components of financial customer service. In a digital age, one great way to build trust is to combine technology with a human touch.
Our State of the Call Report found that 35% of customers prefer voice for communication with banks and lenders (with email coming in second at 22%.) This trend of consumers preferring voice calls is particularly critical for financial institutions. Speaking over the phone with an agent helps customers feel that their assets are secure and their security is protected.
At the end of the day, your customers are the only ones who understand what it’s like to be a customer of your business. They know what their pain points are and might even have suggestions on how to alleviate them. To gather these insights, monitor mentions of your company online, send email surveys, or ask your customers to complete a survey at the end of a call. After the rush of tax season is over, your financial institution might consider looking over the feedback you’ve received and making plans to implement it.
Use Branded Calls
With so much communication happening over the phone, your voice strategy needs to evolve to keep up. Have you ever received an unknown call and not answered, fearing it’s a spam call? Your customers have the same experience. In fact, 94% of unknown calls go unanswered. This leads to your financial institution being unable to reach customers with important updates. By displaying a branded caller ID, your customers will know it’s you every time. With Hiya’s Branded Call feature, you can display your company name and logo to increase answer rates. You can even display the reason for your call, like “tax statement follow up”, to improve the quality of your conversations.
Make sure your financial institution is prepared for the busiest time of the year. Download our Tax Season eBook for five tips to make each tax season a success.