Digital Transformation in BFSI: Implementing a Self-Service Portal
Digital disruption has rocked the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, & Insurance) industry and it continues to impact the entire globe. The BFSI sector is assessing the value of digital service solutions (platforms & self-service portals) and many organizations have realized that their customers' expectations have changed. In the post-pandemic world, they implemented a new customer service strategy based on what they learned in 2020.
That implementation has changed the very nature of BFSI services. Organizations are trying to provide their customers with access to information from any location as the customers have successfully adapted themselves to digital service. The top priority now is Customer Experience (CX). The apparent solution is progressive self-service tools to help customers with timely information and provide a seamless and connected experience.
Preparing for the post-pandemic financial customers
McKinsey & Co reported that BFSI institutions could see an increase of 40% when they successfully use digital technologies. The increase would come from a combination of increased revenues and low operational costs. And, many organizations are demonstrating newfound confidence in digital services.
Mobile and remote access have changed from conveniences to necessities for millions of customers. Digital proficiency (remote transactions, self-service portals, digitization, automation, and advanced analytics) in BFSI institutions leads to significant value creation for the entire industry.
A top priority is a deep engagement with customers. When organizations lose the conversation with their customers, they miss out on trust and the likelihood of becoming the primary financial or insurance institution for that customer. As more technology is introduced in the industry, more questions arise for customers. Questions, such as “How do I transfer funds?”, “How do I enroll for online bill payment?”, “How can I reset my password?”, How can I renew my policy online?”, and etc.
Surprisingly, the solution comes from an unusual source. The streaming giant, Netflix, has trained its customers to demand answers to questions on their own devices, and on their own terms. A similar self-service approach for the BFSI industry is the raging demand now.
BFSI: What is Self-Service for Customers?
Self-service in banking and insurance broadly refers to the means by which a customer can find the content and information they require. There is no need to call customer service and wait in queues to get the answer to a simple but essential question. Today’s modern customers prefer to interact with a financial or insurance organization in this way.
A combination of digital self-service options (portal or platform) and personalized customer service from a human agent is the recipe for success. Immediate benefits include an increase in savings and productivity due to the reduction of calls to customer support. Long-term benefits include maintaining and growing a loyal customer base, maximizing revenue, and a future-proof digital self-service strategy.
Top 3 strategies for a successful self-service portal
The modern banking and insurance portals are a critical tool in the organization’s resources to deliver an engaging customer experience. Adding self-service to that portal adds more value. Most BFSI institutions have the services and knowledge to support self-service, they just need a dedicated strategy to make the portal an effective customer-facing solution.
Understanding the organization’s technology infrastructure
Evaluating the current technology infrastructure is the first step. Organizations that have a disjointed technology stack need to restructure it or in some cases, retire it. To do this, organizations need to have a deep understanding of their current infrastructure and technology.
Understanding customers’ expectations
Self-service in a customer portal can take many forms. Organizations should ensure that their CX and IT teams understand their customer's expectations thoroughly, and then include self-service functionalities that fulfill those expectations.
Understanding when to offer self-service
While self-service is an important digital tool, it may not be effective in every situation. Financial and insurance organizations should not view self-service as a one-size-fits-all solution, instead, consider carefully the situations that would require self-service to deliver a personalized experience.
Delivering the best self-service portal in BFSI
While Netflix and consumer banking or insurance seem so apart, organizations can learn from the media giant to deliver a stellar self-service experience.
World-class support center
Netflix streams to around 221.6 million subscribers in over 190 countries. There are so many questions asked (How can I turn on the subtitles? How can I find a particular movie? How to set parental controls? How to change billing information) that are answered via a self-service help center on the app instead of a live customer support team.
Banks and insurers can set up a world-class support center with clear, searchable, and categorized content. Customers can resolve their doubts or troubleshoot to a quick and easy resolution on their own with excellent support content.
Speed bumps ahead of live support
Netflix offers the chat option but puts a speed bump before initiation by presenting the common support questions and answers so that the customer can quickly browse through to see if the answer they require is already present.
Similarly, BFSI organizations can enable the support content option when a customer requests a live chat or conversation empowering the customer to find the answer by themselves.
Support content at the front and center
Netflix places its support link right at the main navigation of its apps so that it’s hard to miss. Similarly, financial institutions and insurance companies can provide support content links right at the front and center of their digital channels to make the self-service obvious and within reach for all devices.
Remove contact number from plain sight
While it seems counter-intuitive, removing the contact number for customer support will encourage customers to self-serve. Pointing customers to the support center or FAQs section first and offering the contact number as the last step will ensure the success of a self-service portal.
Benefits of self-service strategy in BFSI
Enhanced customer experience as people prefer to answer their questions without having to contact support.
Improved sales as customers continue with the transaction only when they get a quick answer.
Reduced support costs as customers will call less into customer support.
Better support availability as self-service enables support all day, every day, and on all devices.
Staff productivity as support staff can work on complex issues instead of repetitive questions.
Good self-service vs. Bad self-service
Best practices for continued self-service success
Onboarding CX and IT teams
Organizations should devise a self-service strategy along with the CX and IT teams. That way, technology can be designed to provide the best customer experience possible. Training and educating the teams on a regular basis helps to improve the services based on customer expectations.
Onboarding the customers
Customers need some guidance to adopt a self-service portal. Organizations should educate customers on the functionalities and benefits of the portal with accessible information on their digital channels. They should showcase the value of self-service and inspire confidence in customers about it.
Realizing the value of self-service
Financial organizations and insurers should realize that self-service is meant to enhance the existing CX and not replace it. Self-service should be considered an option to arm the customers with needed information. Customer support teams should continue to work on their CX strategies and engagements to boost customer relationships.
Dos and Don’ts of implementing self-service in financial services
Moving ahead in the BFSI landscape
J.D. Power reports that a record 67% of US retail bank customers used their bank’s mobile app in 2021, marking an increase of 7% points from 2020. It also stated that around 41% of bank customers are now classified as digital-only.
These stats highlight the progression of the financial customers towards a fully connected world enabled by cutting-edge technology. All BFSI customers expect simplicity, connectivity, and immediacy from their financial institutions and insurance companies in every interaction. A self-service portal with an experienced support team fulfills that need successfully. Self-service also creates personalized experiences for banking and insurance customers.
BFSI organizations should invest and commit to a mature digital customer service strategy with self-service to optimize business efficiencies. Such a strategy leads to scalability, agility, and the ultimate goal; excellent customer experiences.