When Bank of Oakridge implemented a self-service solution with 24/7 access across their digital channels, they had no idea how impactful it would be. The credit union quickly saw their daily call volume decrease by more than 20 percent, while the account maintenance backlog dropped more than 66 percent. Customer satisfaction sky rocketed, and employees gained time to focus on strategic, revenue-driving initiatives.
Live Chat for Banks and Credit Unions: It’s What Customers and Members Want!
Self-service and 24/7 access is what consumers want in today’s digital marketplace. For banks and credit unions this means more than online banking or an impressive website. Not only do consumers want convenient, anytime access, they also want a superior customer/member experience. One consumer enablement tool that can help banks and credit unions deliver the high level of personalized service customers and members demand is live chat.
Live chat is quickly becoming ubiquitous across the web, with more and more B2C and B2B businesses realizing the tremendous benefits it offers. In fact, according to research by Forrester, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”
“The rapid growth in the customer centric approach to get insights about customer preferences, have driven the demand for live chat software market,” wrote Reportbuyer, an industry intelligence solution that provides all market research reports from top publishers. “Real time communication is among the vital components for understanding the needs of the consumers.”
The Many Benefits of Live Chat
Live chat offers numerous benefits for businesses looking to connect with consumers online. This is especially true for banks and credit unions that are looking to evolve business models from the in-person, branch model to the online, 24/7 digital service model. Benefits include:
- Increase in conversions
- Decrease in costs
- Drastic improvements in customer satisfaction
The beauty of live chat is that it offers a tool for banks and credit unions to service customers and members without losing the personal touch or scrapping the customer service approach that has been so important in financial services, for so long.
Some impressive stats on live chat show how impactful the tool can be:
- 92% of consumers feel more satisfied when they use the live chat feature, according to Zendesk.
- 63% said they are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat, according to emarketer.com.
- 38% said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself, according to the same study by emarketer.com.
There have been several case studies written on the impact that live chat has on sales and conversions. Bank of America is one such study and early adopter of live chat, remarking in 2012 that live web chat was a “key part” of their offering — and as American Banker alludes, a primary factor in their recognition as a top bank in Keynote Systems Banker Scorecard. “Keynote Systems is out with its recurring list of the top performing bank websites, and the data behind the data suggests one way to win the hearts and minds is through live web chat,” wrote AB.
Wells Fargo was another early adopter who implemented live chat and quickly witnessed a double-digit bump in conversions and high customer satisfaction scores. Online home equity conversation rates at Wells Fargo jumped from 30% to 40% after implementing live chat, as reported by the Financial Brand.
What to Consider When Choosing Live Chat Software
If you’re ready to bring live chat to your bank or credit union there are a few considerations to consider. The first decision you will need to make is whether to use a hosted solution or an installable solution. Hosted solutions are simple to set up, and require a minimal investment to get started. With an installable solution, you’ll be hosting the service on your own systems, which will give you greater flexibility when it comes to customization and configuration, but will also require a more significant investment up front. You’ll have full control over your environment, which can be good or bad depending on your goals and in-house IT resources.
For most businesses starting out with live chat, the hosted solution is a good way to go, especially if you are just testing the waters.
Security is another factor to consider when comparing live chat software. Since you may be gathering sensitive customer or member information via your chat sessions, it is critical to maintain a secure environment. Look for a live chat solution that:
- Uses SSL
- Encrypts chats or allows you to disable stored chats
- Let’s individual operators log-in with their own usernames and passwords
- Specializes in live chat for regulated industries, or those that require an extra level of security
Finally, compare the features that each live chat solution offers. Sometimes features can become overwhelming, so just focus on the ones that you really need to start.
Live Chat Options
There are tons of companies now offering live chat software. Some of the most popular options include:
You can learn more about the features, integrations, and pricing breakdown many of the vendors listed above, here.
While text based chat is the norm and may be the current preference, some forward-thinking banks and credit unions are deploying video chat to further connect with their customers and members. “One financial services firm deployed live video chat to connect advisers with customers facing financial challenges,” reported the Financial Brand. “And Denmark’s fifth-largest bank, Nykredit, deployed their Live Guide video chat service back in 2007.”
Even if your bank or credit union isn’t ready to deploy video chat, it can be helpful to remain aware of where the industry is headed and to acknowledge what some financial institutions are already doing to step up their live chat game.
It’s always been about the customer or member. But that may never have been truer than it is today. Live chat can offer you one of the critical tools your bank or credit union needs to grow and compete. Used to complement other self-service software, such as the SilverCloud Consumer Enablement suite — live chat will help you deliver the superior digital experience your customers and members want.