Even though parts of the world are beginning to open up, banks will continue to deal with customers under personal and financial stress. Banks hope to support their customers by being more attentive, reassuring and helpful across their digital services.
Banks that understood and responded to their customers’ emotions in their customer care channels outperformed their peers financially by achieving an average revenue growth of 1.3% during 2020. Interestingly, banks that did not lead with empathy experienced a revenue loss of 0.6% on average.
Accenture’s recent Banking on Empathy report explores the way banks are incorporating empathy in a digital world.
As the pandemic slows down and government support programs dwindle, banks will continue to deal with customers who are struggling with food insecurity, job loss, homelessness and more. That’s important because customers who feel neglected are more likely to change banks. Banks are concerned about losing customers -- 38% of the banks surveyed believe that customer attrition will be a problem in 2021. While 63% of surveyed banks believe that the branch is the most effective way to assist distressed customers, a post-pandemic world challenges banks to lead with empathy through their digital channels.
Although 72% of banks expect human chat interactions to increase in the next few years, only 23% of non-empathetic banks regard human chat as an efficient option for customers to resolve their issues, compared to 93% of empathetic banks. It’s possible non-empathetic banks feel ill-equipped to make the best use of human chat, given that empathetic banks are twice as likely as non-empathetic banks to use different technologies to match their digital service to the customer’s emotional profile. For example, when a customer contacts the bank about an issue via chat, text analytics can be used to understand the customer’s emotions, which allows the bank to issue a more human response.
To lead with a well-rounded, empathetic banking approach, banks can integrate data from different sources on a single, real-time platform; use technology to understand a customer’s emotions online; reduce branch contacts; and enrich the in-branch customer experience, according to Accenture.
Despite the challenges ahead, only 32% of banks are confident that they can accurately assess their customers’ emotional state about their financial situation.