Creating a unified, omni-channel experience for customers is a key initiative for most banks and credit unions today. With numerous digital access points such as web, mobile and tablet in combination with multiple branches and the call center, customers have a variety of options when it comes to communicating with their bank or credit union — and their using them. According to McKinsey, 65 percent of consumers interact with their bank through multiple channels. That’s why, today more than ever, it is essential that banks and credit unions deliver a unified message across channels and branches in order to offer a consistent customer experience.
The Financial Brand wrote, “It’s all too common that the body doesn’t know what the head is doing and vice versa. You need to take steps to ensure everyone is sending out the same consistent message to your customers.” And one of the key factors in delivering this consistent customer message is effective and robust bank training, for employees, that is uniform across branches and channels. After all, front line employees at branches and in call centers are the face of the institution and one of the primary avenues responsible for delivering these key customer messages.
As Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) remarked, “Omni-channel only works if everyone can get the right information when they need it—including staff, too.”
Inconsistency Erodes Trust
Inconsistent answers from customer service members, tellers and across branches erode customer trust and confidence. Not only that but when bank employees find inconsistent answers on a policy or procedure, they end up calling SME’s and managers instead of using policy and procedure manuals. A recent study from SilverCloud shows that 63% of managers and SME’s report they spend 1/3 or more of their day answering repetitive questions from front line employees that are otherwise answered in the policy and procedure manual. So in addition to eroding customer trust, inconsistent answers lead to huge inefficiencies and have a destructive effect on employee morale.
Today, customer expectations are high and banks and credit unions are already challenged to meet their service demands. According to Forrester, the number one channel for how consumers research and purchase financial products is still through people channels — branches and call centers — 42 percent when researching and 61 percent when buying. That means banks and credit unions must figure out a way to ensure that all employees are trained uniformly across all branches and every employee is given easy access to a centralized, up-to-date source of information — so that no matter how a customer interacts with his/her bank they are receiving the same answer and quality of experience every time. And so that banks and credit unions are able to offer the best and newest products and services to their customers. American Banker wrote about one top 20 bank that “converted to image-enabled deposits and then discovered that 81 percent of its employees did not know how to make an envelope-free deposit. Many did not even know the feature existed.”
If banks and credit unions want to retain their customer base and simultaneously grow new share of wallet as well as new accounts they must prepare their employees adequately and consistently across branches.
The Intranet as an Omni-Channel Bank Training Tool
PWC wrote in their 2015 paper, Making omnichannel work: The “to-do” list for banks, “Utilizing tools like intranets can provide a central place for all employees to find out the latest on current promotions.” When employees can find accurate answers to their questions on their institution’s intranet they will go their first to get answers instead of calling other employees. In fact, Arizona Federal Credit Union found that 98% of employees surveyed go to their intranet (powered by SilverCloud) first. Not only did employees say they go to the intranet first when looking for answers but the data showed that employees were asking 16,000 to 18,000 questions on average every month. Unfortunately, while intranets are certainly a great place to centralize employee information, most financial organizations today are dealing with intranets that simply don’t work because they focus on the technology instead of more importantly, the content and it’s architectures. They are inefficient and ineffective and are having profoundly negative impacts on a majority of banks and credit unions across the country.
In addition to their failing intranets, training is another major issue that most banks and credit unions are grappling with. In a survey conducted by SilverCloud the majority of bank training managers said that they spend more time training employees on how to find answers than on the actual products and procedures. In fact, one bank training manager surveyed said she spent 100% of her time answering employee questions instead of training. Because front line employees had no place to go to find quick answers to their questions, they relied on the training manager, as their source of information, leaving her little to no time to do her actual job — training.
In order to be effective and meet the needs of banks, training would have to be a massive and time consuming effort. A better solution for banks and credit unions is to give employees immediate and accurate answers to all of their questions. Staff can only remember so much, so when they have quick access to real time training and information they are better equipped to do their jobs and provide better service.
Real-time training, that can be accessed by employees at any time of day, is a far more effective training model that is grossly overlooked by most organizations. But how do banks and credit unions implement such a strategy? The answer can be found in a robust intranet that is built with clear and targeted answers, not long dense documents that make search impossible and confuse front line staff.
Knowledge base software built with specific answers can help customer service agents find answers to customer questions and can be leveraged across channels, so that content, information, messaging and training is uniform and stored in one central repository. That way when a customer contacts the call center looking for information they are getting the same answer as a customer who walked into the branch or one who visited the website. Knowledge base software can also be especially helpful in maintaining consistency during times of transition, such as a merger or acquisition or during the implementation of a new technology.
At SilverCloud we not only offer this exact technology, but we do the heavy lifting of converting long documents into specific answers that employees can both find and understand. Additionally, we only work with banks and credit unions and remain part of their staff for keeping the content up to date long after implementation. Our solution can be integrated with your current intranet or can stand alone as your entire intranet solution. Whichever option you choose, SilverCloud will transform the way your bank or credit union implements bank training, communicates across branches and channels and serves its customers or members.
But don’t take our word for it. Read about some of our most recent clients who have found immediate success with SilverCloud.