Even as banks and credit unions look to enhance online and mobile banking tools to adapt to customers’ expectations and demands, some are finding it challenging to keep pace with how customers want to interact.
Enter, CCaaS – “contact center as a service” – a category of products that offer solutions in addressing some or all of a lender’s needs in handling customer questions, including telephone and chat services, as banks adapt to changing customer behaviors.
“Banking relationships are built on trust and empathy and communication, and banks have traditionally strengthened their relationships over time,” said Patrick Reetz, chief product officer at CCaaS provider Revation. “That successful transformation [in banking] is going to require the ability to have self-serve, but yet reach out and easily connect seamlessly to that human interaction where that relationship happens.”
While some banks still operate contact centers with technology on their premises, others have either adopted a single cloud-based contact center or integrated a variety of platforms into their service channels, said Robert Murphy, Revation’s vice president of marketing.
Minnesota-based Revation provides secure, cloud-based contact center technology called LinkLive for 600 U.S.-based banks and credit unions, recently signing on its 600th client. Revation, which also works with the health care industry, offers a full-service contact center or tools, like chat, that banks can integrate into other call center platforms. Massachusetts banks using Revation include Envision Bank, Newburyport Bank, North Easton Savings Bank and Salem Five.
North Easton Savings Bank did not have a call center when it merged in 2019 with Mutual Bank. The bank instead took incoming calls through an operator, who then transferred callers for further assistance, said Kelli Poulos, North Easton Savings Bank’s first vice president of retail banking.
Dissatisfied with both its own telephone technology provider and the platform for Mutual Bank’s recently-launched call center, North Easton Savings conducted a search for a new provider, Poulos said, before deciding on Revation’s LinkLive platform.
The platform added more capabilities for servicing customers, Poulos said, including chat, which North Easton Savings Bank had also never used before. LinkLive’s features have also helped with training, reporting and measuring call center performance, Poulos said,
“There’s only so much you can do in online banking,” Poulos said. “[LinkLive] really has helped our customer service across the board.”
Key to Serving Online Customers
Salem Five Bank began working with LinkLive after it went through a significant upgrade in 2017 across all core and customer-facing technologies, said Senior Vice President Robert Ames. The bank’s technology provider, Fiserv, has a strategic partnership with Revation to provide digital service features, including chat.
In addition to integrating with core technologies, LinkLive can integrate with other platforms, Reetz said.
When Salem Five wanted to use the self-serve chatbot functionality offered by Boston-based Posh Technologies, the bank was able to integrate it in front of LinkLive’s chat services, Ames said.
The bank has seen growth in the use of its self-service channels, Ames said, including the chatbot. After expecting 30 percent of chat interactions to involve the chatbot, the bank has seen 50 percent of chats handled by the chatbot.
“Even as we kind of come out of this most recent experience with COVID, the growth rates still seem to be fairly high in terms of customers adoption and usage of the more modern ways in which to connect with the bank,” Ames said. “They just seem to be more and more comfortable, and we believe it will continue to increase over time.”
He added that the chatbot has been designed to recognize the customer experience and connect callers with an agent when needed.
Having that balance of self-serve capabilities with the ability to speak with someone at the bank is important for banks to continue building relationships, Reetz said.
“There’s nothing better than seamlessly being able to communicate where the relationship happens in banking – and that’s with a human,” Reetz said.