Banks and their clients alike benefit from resources that enhance the interactive customer service experience. Resources like live chat, virtual assistants and secure messaging platforms service various user needs. These support channels are typically more efficient and cost-effective than maintaining call centers to answer custom inquiries. And users benefit from immediate answers on the platforms where their questions arise.

Interactive support is important during normal times but becomes crucial during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, which increase the need for tailored support. Nearly half of respondents (47%) in a recent Corporate Insight (CI) survey said the crisis has negatively impacted their finances. Moreover, such crises affect firms’ abilities to staff everyday customer service channels like branches and call centers. A recent report from CI’s Bank Monitor examines the interactive customer service experience of the 18 firms in the coverage group, noting coronavirus-related changes to options when relevant.

Live chat, secure messaging, virtual assistants and call center support are all necessary interactive servicing options

Live chat is one of the best ways to connect users with a customer service associate, so every firm should provide an instant messaging option throughout its authenticated site. Secure messaging services are also important for more complex or less immediate concerns. The best firms support two-way correspondence through an email-like inbox. Text-based support presents a great opportunity for firms to automate simple tasks with an interactive virtual assistant, freeing live agents up for more complex requests that require human attention.

USAA Virtual Assistant Help Pop-Up

Beyond strictly digital servicing, firms can better support their call centers by allowing users to request a call from customer service instead of waiting on hold for a possibly unknown amount of time. Firms can also estimate wait times alongside relevant contact information to forewarn users and manage call volume by encouraging them to call during less busy hours. Leading firms provide clear and prominent messaging that notes specific changes to available options when current events like COVID-19 affect these interactive support channels.

BB&T Estimated Wait Time Lightbox

Recommendations for a best-in-class interactive customer service experience

Several best practices emerged in our research of interactive support options. CI recommends that, in order to provide top-tier services that meet consumer needs and expectations, banks should:

  • Offer live chat throughout the authenticated site
  • Support secure messaging for less urgent correspondence
  • Automate simple servicing with virtual assistants
  • Allow users to request a call from customer service
  • Note current wait times alongside contact information
  • Advise users on how COVID-19 affects support options

Subscribers can read the full report on banks’ interactive customer service experience on our client portal. For access, or for more competitive intelligence on the user experience that banks provide to their customers, check out Corporate Insight’s Bank Monitor research service offerings.