Unbridled Behavioral Expectations: The Growth of Customer Service Help Platforms

July 23, 2018

By

We live in a time of unbridled change. New technologies are cast in warp speed. Innovation is providing us: new ways to communicate; new ways to buy the items we want; new ways to tell people how we feel about the experience we just had with a business; and many more use cases.

In short, we are in the midst of a metamorphism of human behavioral expectations.

Today, everyone expects an “Asos or Zara online experience,” or to be electronically informed when our luggage is put on and off the plane (as Delta does) or when a transaction is made on his or her credit card (American Express currently).

So, why is the retail wealth management space badly lagging other business-to-business and business-to-customer verticals in how it services its customers, the advisor, and the investor?

For a long time, the customer service improvement rhetoric focused on wealth management as a highly regulated industry; thus, service can only go so far. I agree with the highly regulated industry part.

But so are many other sectors; think healthcare and banking. Here’s a dose of reality. The experiences of advisors and investors in other verticals are having a profound impact on the service levels they expect from their wealth management providers.

Buyers now expect Amazon-like technology for transactions. Digital wealth firms like Betterment, Wealthsimple or RobustWealth are supplying a similar experience courtesy of APEX Clearing.

Have you ever tried to open an account on one of these platforms? You should. It’s super-easy.

Alternatively, have you wanted to change an address or a beneficiary? Maintenance requests should be just as easy, yet for many firms in the retail wealth space, the experience is challenging.

Ever tried to communicate with Uber? Quick, and very effective. Alternatively, have you ever complained via social media @company and gotten a response?

If so, they are likely using a customer service help platform.

Firms like ZenDesk,  Kustomer, and HappyFox, to name a few, are supporting the retail B2B and B2C customer help experiences, with which retail wealth firms are now unwittingly competing. The Zendesk’s customer base alone has over 200,000 companies, including Uber, Groupon, Box, Airbnb, and Disney. What are the wins? Firms using customer service help desks have lowered their support costs, raised productivity, and are increasing customer satisfaction.

And you can add Lincoln Investments to that list too with their roughly 1,500 advisors. Lincoln Investments has implemented the Zendesk customer service help platform.

“While implementing, Lincoln designed, and ZenDesk organized automated workflows where advisors were enabled to communicate through their chosen method (specific email addresses, proprietary form, social media …),” Chris Kelm, vice president of Operations shared. “Once sent, those requests are funneled to the appropriate servicing agents, enabling more prompt responses, and additionally supplying meaningful specific intelligence on performance.”

Additionally, he added, when servicing challenges arose, additional insight was available via packaged analytics.

Lincoln also rolled out a knowledge base, which is a module within the ZenDesk customer help platform. The knowledge base, where Lincoln’s subject matter experts have created a foundation of focused content, has helped shrink the number of inbound calls that are focused on content understanding issues.

“In the short time that we have had the system, we have gained insights on where we need technology, how busy our support agents are, and where support blockages are,” Kelm went on to say, adding, “We are also able to make informed personnel retention decisions. This really is an Uber world.”

The value that these customer support help platforms bring improves communication, along with the opportunity to make sense of massive amounts of available data with reporting that surfaces exact problems, not just those that come with the loudest noise.

“These are the platforms that help turn interactions into lasting business relationships,” Tom Keiser, COO of ZenDesk said.

Why?

These platforms manage all customer conversations in one place, no matter what the source—proprietary, email, phone or social media, so support is both personal and quick. The platforms supply broader transparency, enabling the servicing agents to solve a customer need in one experience, not many.

Additionally, as vast amounts of data accumulate, business and artificial intelligence will supply meaningful predictive analytics, adding greater value to the customer and the business.

“Supporting the customers’ want of self-service tools and the ability to answer a customer’s question in one experience is the root of the modern customer experience model,” Vikas Bhambri, head of business development at Kustomer, concluded.

Like it or not, these multi-directional customer help platforms are the future for supporting advisors and investors. They optimize your human resources. The firms that supply these platforms are true disruptors in a time of behavioral expectation disruption.

They simplify and improve the customer experience, build efficiencies, make your people better, and lower support costs.

Lastly, your customers are already using them (even if they don’t know it) and they expect the “anytime, anywhere” modern support experience.

Chip Kispert