With mobile banking now mainstream, credit unions and their customers are joining the next evolution: video banking. Given an unexpected push from the pandemic, video banking is seeing a swift rise as consumers are turning to technology solutions that allow them to interact from home. Recent reports cite a nearly 50% increase in video interactions during the first few weeks of the pandemic, highlighting the growing importance of bank preparedness to support customers through video solutions.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when many states were under shelter-in-place or stay at home orders, video conferencing tools experienced a sudden surge as many took to utilizing these solutions to socially connect with loved ones. But as time went on, the video call craze eventually fizzled out as society adjusted to the new normal. This consumer behavior poses a burning question about video banking – is it a faddestined to fade away as the pandemic passes and branches reopen? Or, is it here to stay as a part of the larger communication strategyfor banks?
Looking beyond the pandemic, video banking has staying power. Living in a faster paced world, fewer opportunities for in-person meetings now exist because people are simply busier. In this context, video banking offers consumers the ability to personally connect with their banking representative to discuss more complex matters in a way that is more convenient and time efficient. Whether applying for a mortgage, opening a new account, or reviewing transactions in real time, video banking is convenient, and when done right, secure.
To welcome video banking as an integral part of a long-term communication strategy, financial institutions must take a step back to analyze the technology they currently have in place and consider the following best practices.
Create a Frictionless Experience Across Digital & Physical Channels
Today’s consumers expect the ability to communicate with a bank in the way that is most convenient to them –which is primarily through digital channels. According to Accenture, even before the pandemic, more than 90% of customer interactions in the banking industry had shifted to digital channels. Prior to (and surely beyond) the pandemic, the always on-the-go lifestyle that our society leads leaves consumers with little time or patience to deal with inefficiencies that often occur in communicating with a business. As digital channels grow in popularity, banks must improve their communications strategy to ensure their customers can use such channels with flexibility and ease.
Although video banking technology holds the power to replicate much of the in-person experience, banks should still approach their use of the technology very intentionally – that is, acknowledging the different user journeys where video banking can be used to help reduce friction in digital customer service. Rather than viewing video banking technology as a tool that is meant to completely mimic and fully replace the traditional in-branch experience, banks should consider video banking as a piece of thelarger communications puzzle that can be used to reduce friction in the experience and fortify connections between consumers and bank representatives.
To help connect the digital and physical channels, banks should integrate video banking with other features such as appointment scheduling functionality. By interweaving video banking and appointment scheduling, bank representatives and consumers can ‘meet’ in a secure place. For example, a customer can schedule an appointment from the bank’s website and indicate video as the meeting place (instead of a branch location). An additional benefit of leveraging appointment scheduling functionality is that banks can audit these types of interactions as they are treated the same as any other ‘session,’ allowing for contact center supervisors to perform quality assurance appointments done over video.
Simplifying the way that customers can schedule an appointment and meet with a representative across a variety of channels will help drive the adoption of video banking long after the pandemic has passed.
Integrate Video Banking into Unified Communications (UC) Strategy
Many banks look to a range of disparate technologies to create an omni-channel experience for their customer. Attempting to connect a variety of different technology systems not only proves to be challenging for a bank’s IT staff but also can have a negative impacton the customer experience. Banks should look to deploy a holistic unified communications (UC) strategy in their contact centers to offer a variety of digital channels including web chat,SMSand video. Rather than creating a piecemeal communications strategy,banks can better serve their customers by taking a step back to reconsider how features like video can fit into their larger strategy.
UC solutions are quite common in today’s banking contact centers as they enable banks to meet the rising expectations of consumers. UC solutions combining channels like voice, video, chat, file transfer or co-browse can simplify the customer experience and allow for fluid transitions between channels in real-time as an interaction takes place. For instance, the ideal experience for both the customer and the bank would be one that enables the customer to schedule an appointment from the bank’s website then visit a URL at the time of the appointment. The customer can securely meet with a bank representative using any or all of the digital channels available – chat, voice, video and co-browse – based on what the conversation deemed necessary. The recent digital transformation has made it possible for UC technology to offer such a seamless customer experience.
UC provides immense benefits to banks looking not only to add video banking as a channel, but to enhance their digital customer service, as well. By integrating video banking into the larger communications picture, banks can not only meet rising consumer expectations butalso reduce capital expenditures and give more time back to internal resources.
Keep Security a Top Priority
As banks reconsider their communications strategies, including the role of video banking, security must remain priority. Sensitive customer data is often shared during a video banking session, such as personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card industry (PCI) information. As this information exists in the cloud, banks need tobe mindful of how they are securing and protecting their customer data.
One of the best ways to ensure that data is being protected for all parties is to use encryption. Today, end-to-end encryption, meaning that third parties are unable to access data in transition from one system to another, is a reality.In fact, according to Forrester’sState of Data Security and Privacy 2020 Report, the most common method of protecting data in cloud deployments is to encrypt data before it moves to the cloud. In addition to encryption, banks should implement user authentication, preventing unknown parties from joining a session. Additionally, UC solutions can deliver a HITRUST CSF certification, which is a standardized methodology and framework to measure compliance and risk effectively, that can consistentlyensure that sensitive customer data is protected.
Although the use of video banking has skyrocketed since the pandemic began, there is no doubt that video banking will continue to be a powerful tool as part of a larger UC communications strategy for banks in the years ahead.
Perry Price is Co-Founder and CEO of Revation Systems, a leader in cloud-based, compliant messaging and communications.