Feb 21 2020

Seeing Is Believing: The Benefits of Interactive Video for Banks

Delight current customers and impress new ones with this cost-efficient technology.

Banks are closing branches and cutting positions as restructuring efforts look to address market changes and capture the evolving benefits of technology-driven deployments.

The challenge? While 60,000 layoffs in 2019 may help banks deliver more sustainable profit margins, financial firms can’t afford to compromise customer service. As noted by Jeremy Watkin of 8x8 in a recent Forbes piece, “At this point, great customer service is table stakes. To take customer experience to the next level in 2020, companies need to focus their energy on innovating ways to make life easier and more convenient for their customers.”

There’s an emerging solution that, when implemented and integrated correctly, is capable of satisfying banks’ existing customers while impressing potential new ones by updating their image in a technology-first market: interactive video.

Why Banks Are Deploying Two-Way Video

Banks are coming around to the ubiquity of mobile applications. About 80 percent of customers use mobile banking apps weekly, and just 3 percent believe that in-branch banking represents the future of finance.

Yet there are still questions best suited to expert answers. For example, the sheer type and variety of mortgage options, rates and payment schedules makes this a difficult interaction to have purely online or via chatbot — specific industry knowledge outpaces the broad availability of general information.

As a result, banks are beginning to deploy two-way video solutions that allow clients to interact with financial experts in real time. According to The Financial Brand, 64 percent of branches point to increased customer satisfaction with video banking services, and 62 percent have experienced reduced branch workload.

The ability to access on-demand video chat via a branded mobile app makes it possible for customers to get sound financial advice conveniently, wherever they are, through face-to-face contact with familiar personnel.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: What should banks do in the aftermath of a breach?

How AI Enhances Banking Customers’ Interactions

While the most obvious application of two-way video banking leverages existing mobile applications and financial websites, there are also efforts to enhance both the availability and efficacy of interactive options.

As noted by ATM Marketplace, for example, AI-powered predictive routing engines are now being used to assess customer needs prior to video connections with a series of simple questions that match them with a suitable expert. In addition, AI tools can determine the “next best action” for financial staff by using both in-situ data and historical records.

Work is also underway to integrate two-way video with ATMs. According to Matt Phillips of banking technology firm Diebold Nixdorf — which has more than 2 million ATMs and cash registers worldwide — his firm has plans to launch self-serve bank machines within the next five years that offer loan application services and live video chats. Phillips puts it simply: “We do see the evolution of the ATM bridging that customer experience.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn about the 5 financial services tech trends to watch for in 2020.

Avoid These Interactive Video Pitfalls

Cost and convenience are the driving forces for financial video adoption; many firms already have robust mobile and online platforms capable of supporting video services with minimal alterations. And like any cloud-based service, video offerings can be delivered on-demand to help banks account for the growing costs of digital customer service.

Talking the talk is one thing, because the ideal of connecting customers to experts is functionally straightforward. Walking the walk, however, requires more than cost projections and potential savings; to ensure video systems deliver on predicted value, banks must consider — and correct for — three potential pitfalls:

  • Speed: While banks can’t account for the last-mile connections of end users, they’ll need to conduct a thorough assessment of internal IT infrastructure. For example, Skype recommends at least 1.5-megabit-per-second upload and download speeds for two-way HD video calling; multiply that by hundreds or thousands of connections, and banks must be prepared to handle massive video bandwidth volume.
  • Security: Consent and compliance will become even more critical as banking shifts to video. Agents will need data compliance training to ensure they don’t inadvertently reveal protected financial details if users are in public or using shared ATMs, and companies will need to develop more robust acknowledgement policies that make potential risks clear to users before they discuss personal information or provide financial data.
  • Sophistication: Video alone won’t be enough to keep clients engaged and interested. To deliver real-time financial value, firms must bundle video solutions with secure forms automation, legally binding e-signature tools and photo ID verification solutions. Just as they’d expect from a branch, video callers want a full-featured financial experience that addresses their needs start to finish.

Live video is the future of dynamic digital banking. But to reap the benefits of enhanced customer service and improved workflow, firms need to embrace the evolving nature of this solution and be prepared to meet the triple challenges of speed, security and sophistication.

This article is part of BizTech's EquITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #FinanceTech hashtag.

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