Voice AI in Financial Securities for Improved CLTV

The global brokerage industry is growing at a CAGR of 4%. The unprecedented growth of the brokerage industry especially in the developing economies, improved financial awareness and digital-friendly services have made customer acquisition easier. However, brokerage firms both traditional and digital-first are facing a hard time with customer activation and retention. This is due to multiple reasons including increasing competition and demand for a seamless customer experience.

To get a positive ROI from customers, financial services companies like brokers/AMCs need to focus on increasing their lifetime value. Compared to banking or insurance, buying a stock or a mutual fund can seem overwhelming and complex, especially for first-time customers. Hence, for financial services companies, it’s not only important to onboard customers smoothly but also proactively support them and resolve their challenges across their lifecycle.

According to a study by Bain & Company, a 5% increase in retention can lead to a rise in profit between 25% to 95%.

Let’s look at a few customer experience strategies and advanced technologies that financial services companies can leverage to reduce customer churn and increase customer lifetime value –

Onboarding customers effectively 

While attracting and converting customers have their own challenges, for companies, their ultimate goal should be to ensure customers get maximum value out of their platform, rather than just stop at customer acquisition. Inability to do that can directly lead to an increase in customer churn. This is why customer onboarding is so critical for any business. Research has shown that onboarding has a positive impact on the customer’s willingness to leverage different products/services.

Through effective customer onboarding, companies should look at making customers comfortable with the platform and aware of all their products/services. This will ensure that customers can take appropriate action without facing any challenges. Again not all customers are the same. Hence, onboarding should be tailored according to different customer segments so that each one is able to reap the maximum benefit. 

Here are few characteristics of a good onboarding program: 

  • It’s fast and simple
  • Easily accessible 
  • Interactive 

If you’re having trouble segmenting users, you can leverage Voice AI. AI Voice bots that are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms can help you in triggering personalized calls to customers intelligently and asking them their past experience with financial services products, whether they’d be interested in getting additional help through a dedicated support agent and if they’d like to book a demo. 

Customer satisfaction boosts CLTV

For companies to increase LTV, it’s very important for them to build long term relationships with customers. In order for companies to achieve this, they need to ensure they provide customers with a great support experience consistently across all channels. A lot of times, the first impression of a company’s support is enough for customers to create a brand perception.

Often times companies pay less focus on users once they’re converted. But for business success, equal importance should be provided to each customer, irrespective of which stage they’re in. 

Customers are more likely to return to your platform when you resolve their queries timely and provide proactive support. 

Collecting Feedback

To gauge customer satisfaction and ensure that improvements are being made to it consistently, companies need to collect feedback. This is critical in understanding the good and bad aspects and working towards improving them.

Traditionally companies have been using text, emails and manual phone calls to collect feedback. While these methods still work, financial services companies can also leverage the power of AI voice bots. With the ability to understand the context and intent and hold human-like conversations, the AI voice bot can collect feedback from customers in a personalized manner and also automatically reschedule calls to ensure the majority of the people are reached. 

For example, a feedback call can be triggered to customers on the successful investment in a mutual fund. 

Customer activation of dormant users 

Even engaged customers can turn into inactive customers. This can be due to multiple reasons. For the financial services industry, it might be because the stock market is performing poorly, or they’ve incurred a huge loss, or because they’ve changed devices. Again, whatever the reason might be, companies should not consider them as lost, and instead, need to apply different strategies to re-activate them.

One effective strategy is to ensure companies need to stay relevant across channels including voice. They need to capture the top of the mind recall for these users so that customers know the platform to select when they’re ready to take an action. 

For example, alongside other communication, running exclusive promotional campaigns for dormant customers are a great way to bring users back to the platform. This can be performed across different channels like emails, SMS, phone and in-app notifications. 

Similar to email campaigns, with advanced technologies like Voice AI, automated outbound call campaigns can be executed within a couple of minutes without any human assistance. Companies no longer need to invest in hiring call centre agents or an external agency for execution. AI Voice bots can automate outbound calls to reactivate dormant accounts and ask customers a set of questions to understand if they are facing any difficulty. According to the information that is collected, financial services companies can take appropriate action to bring the user back. 

Cross Selling and Upselling 

With so many products to offer ( equity, commodity, future & options, currency and mutual funds), an effective way for financial services companies to increase CLTV is through cross-selling and upselling customers. 

While at the outset it might sound straightforward, upselling customers is a complex process and can only be beneficial when executed in the right way. Here are few tips to maximise the results from cross-selling and upselling: 

  • Segmenting users before upselling and cross-selling is very important. Spamming users never helps in increasing conversions.
  • Timing also plays a critical role. Companies need to decide this according to the product a customer subscribes to.
  • The focus should always be on providing additional value to the customers.
  • Engaged and loyal customers are a great fit for upselling and cross-selling 

The ultimate goal for financial services companies should be to closely monitor customers, understand their needs and meet them accordingly at the right time and in the most efficient and scalable manner.

Over to You 

While adding new features and capabilities is important, for financial services companies to grow sustainably they need to shift their focus on improving the customer lifetime value. Measuring will not only help them get a true understanding of what’s bringing customers back to the platform but also what’s impacting the bottom line.

From the strategies covered in the article, it’s clear that CX plays a huge role in customer retention. Hence, companies need to reimagine their customer strategy across different stages in their journey. 

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.

E-Commerce Retention Strategies for 2022: A Mini Guide

The market value of the fast exploding e-commerce industry is expected to grow to USD 16,215 billion by 2027 (Meticulous Research) globally. While the e-commerce companies battle it out for a larger slice of the pie, they also need to maintain a laser-sharp focus on retaining their existing customers. In the new digital economy, they need to constantly innovate with agile business models to promote their products and services in a personalized manner to avoid obsolescence.

Many think that retaining e-commerce customers is straightforward. Unfortunately, providing a great product or a fast shipping experience is not enough for retaining customers. With increasing competition and demand for a seamless customer experience, e-commerce customer retention is becoming increasingly difficult.

But why focus on retention?

Retaining customers not only helps in reducing acquisition costs but also in increasing the customer lifetime value, directly impacting the bottom line. Research shows that a 5% boost in customer retention increases profits by 25% to 95%. While acquiring new customers is also important, building a long-term relationship with an existing customer is 16 times more cost-effective than acquiring one. 

Hence, for consistent growth, it’s critical for e-commerce companies to focus on retention and employ customer-centric strategies that help in bringing back customers to the website/application. Below are a few proven customer-driven tactics that can help e-commerce organizations increase customer retention and improve loyalty –

Personalized customer engagement across different stages

Over 91% of consumers are more likely to shop from brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations (Forbes). Engagement across the customer funnel is important for both converting users into customers and reactivating existing customers. 

Here are few effective forms of customer engagement –

Effective customer onboarding

While often ignored, an effective onboarding program is the first step you can take towards creating customer loyalty. It helps customers learn about your products/services and the mission of your company. This in turn allows them to choose the right products and gain maximum value from your offerings. 

Promoting Offers/New Launches 

If you want customers to return back and buy from you after their initial purchase, it’s very important to constantly be in touch with them and build a relationship. There are multiple strategies e-commerce companies can use to achieve this, including – 

  • Promoting new product launches and other important announcements through AI voice bots.
  • Triggering promotional outbound calls through AI voice bots for reactivating existing customers. 
  • Notifying customers about price drops and product availability alerts by leveraging AI voice bots. 

Let’s understand this better using an example. Assume a user is looking to purchase a specific product that is currently out of stock. To ensure he/she visits again when the product comes back in stock, e-commerce companies can automatically trigger calls informing the customer about the product availability. Assuming there are hundreds of such customers every day, it’s an ingenious way to bring back potential buyers and increase sales.

Alongside calls, e-commerce companies can also notify users using push notifications, text messages and emails.

Offer excellent & proactive customer support

Customer service directly impacts customer loyalty. Hence, whether companies are active on only one or multiple channels, it’s important to ensure that they provide a delightful and seamless customer experience consistently across all channels. Since over 70% of users prefer to shop using their phone, the most popular channels are call, chat and SMS.

While chat and SMS don’t require a lot of resources to handle, calls are resource-intensive and require hiring and training of call centre agents. However, with limited bandwidth, e-commerce companies struggle in answering customer calls quickly and in providing them first call resolution. The situation worsens during events like festivals, a sale or a big product launch. 

To overcome this challenge, more and more e-commerce companies are adopting Voice AI built using advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms that can not only understand the context and intent but also hold natural human-like conversations. By leveraging the technology, e-commerce companies can handle the majority of the outbound calls especially the ones that are mundane without the need for a human agent. AI voice bots can answer questions like a human and resolve common queries (for example, order status enquiry). When required the AI voice bots can also easily transfer calls to agents with context. 

This allows e-commerce companies to handle mundane calls and surges (during festival season or a sale) while freeing up agent bandwidth. Since the resolution is instant, AI voice bots drastically reduce call waiting times and increase first call resolution. 

Collecting feedback and acting on it

While often undervalued, collecting customer feedback is a very effective way of increasing customer retention. This is because it’s impossible to retain a customer without knowing what they expect from a product or service. 

Hence, irrespective of the company size or the number of customers, e-commerce companies should proactively collect customer feedback and analyze it to improve product experience and service.

Most companies are leveraging emails, text messages, agent calls and push notifications to collect feedback. While these methods are effective to an extent, the number of responses received using these methods are very poor. We’ve all been guilty of ignoring emails and text messages sent to us for feedback. To fix this, e-commerce companies can leverage Voice AI.

AI Voice bots that are powered using Voice AI can intelligently trigger calls at certain milestones (eg. when the product is delivered) to collect feedback from customers in a personalized manner. It can even reschedule calls in case the customer doesn’t pick or when they request for a callback. Collecting feedback at the right time not only makes the customer feel valued but also yields a higher conversion rate compared to other channels.

Irrespective of the channel you’re utilizing, remember to ask customers for additional context with the rating. In order to improve CX, it’s important to understand in depth their challenges and reasons for both poor and good experiences. 

Wrapping it up 

While a few retention strategies might take additional resources and effort to implement, they’ll go a long way in increasing customer lifetime value and ultimately revenue. For faster implementation and in-depth analytics, companies need to leverage the latest technologies (like Voice AI, ML) and tools.

Lastly, to get the maximum out of the above strategies, e-commerce companies need to focus their efforts on the right set of users (that create maximum value for them in the long run).  

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can streamline your contact center strategy.

Why CX is the Next Disruptor in Financial Services

During the pandemic, financial services companies like brokers/AMCs saw a huge surge in the number of retail investors. According to Statista, Zerodha, India’s largest stockbroker, has added over two million users in 2021, more than twice compared to last year. 

According to Jonathan Craig (Senior EVP and Head of Investor Services, Charles Schwab), “A big part of this growth is Generation Investor — the large number of people who are bound together not by their birth years but by when they got started in their investing journey — who is now on a path to ownership and reaching their financial goals”. 

However, the pandemic is not the only reason for this growth; a simplified trading platform and low brokerage fees from financial services companies such as Robinhood and Zerodha have a lot to do with the increased surge in the number of retail investors, especially millennials & gen-z. 

While the increased growth has significantly boosted key metrics including revenue, it has also brought up multiple challenges like investor engagement and improving customer lifetime value. 

Technology is no longer the moat 

Platforms like Zerodha and Robinhood disrupted the market with their flat-fee pricing model. This helped them grow rapidly and stand out from their traditional counterparts. They also leveraged new-age technologies and made their platforms fast and easy to use making it very easy for first-time investors to get started. However, with traditional companies changing their pricing models and improving their user interfaces, the seemingly strong moat is evaporating.

With so many alternatives in the market, switching platforms has become incredibly easy. It takes 30 minutes to open a new account and the same time to switch to another platform. This line sums up the current market situation and the competition. 

Challenges that financial services companies are facing

Financial services companies customers’ can be broadly classified into two buckets – first-time investors and experienced investors. Since most of the new users are first-time investors, the biggest challenges are around them. For starters, companies face a hard time seeing regular engagement on the platform, mainly driven by poor financial literacy. This leads to a high number of dormant accounts, as a norm, in the industry.

So, how can companies tackle these challenges? 

The only way for financial services companies like brokers and AMCs to promote loyalty and increase customer retention is by providing a delightful experience across different touchpoints, every time. The hard truth is that CX will be the dark horse driving the growth along with technology. 

CX across different stages in the customer journey 

The pandemic did help attract users to the capital markets, however, engaging the user with the first investment and eventually retaining them is where the main challenge lies. Hence, it’s critical for securities companies to reimagine the customer journey from start to finish. 

For example, for the first investment, it’s important for companies to –

  1. Educate investors about the different products and services through interactive videos and webinars. 
  2. Provide them with suggestions according to their financial goals. 
  3. Nudge them intelligently over different channels to ensure they make their first investment.

In addition, they need to proactively support them and resolve their queries quickly. They’ll also have to monitor their behaviour and usage and tweak their communication strategy accordingly. 

Alternatively, for an active trader, their approach needs to be different. This is because their priorities are different. For example, in case of downtime, they can proactively inform customers about it rather than waiting for users to reach their support to raise concerns and ask additional questions. Similarly, they can keep them informed about important educational initiatives, newer products, and more. 

Voice AI and its role in CX 

The highest number of touchpoints when an investor usually interacts with a company is the inbound/outbound support centre, it should be an absolute priority for the winners to enhance this experience.

To enhance customer experience and improve customer engagement, several securities companies are adopting Voice AI solutions. AI voice bots that are powered using Voice AI are built using sophisticated and advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and have the ability to understand the context, intent, and hold human-like conversations.  

Let’s look at different ways securities companies can leverage it – 

Streamlining inbound support

No one likes waiting on the IVR.

But why do we even have the IVR in the first place? Can we get rid of it?

Yes, we can!

Compared to other industries, support queries raised by investors are more time-sensitive and must be resolved as quickly as possible. Customers cannot afford to wait minutes to get a response. However, with the increasing number of support queries (due to the surge in new customers) and limited bandwidth, securities companies are facing a hard time resolving them within the promised time. 

To fix this, companies can leverage AI voice bots. They can answer mundane support queries (like a/c status, upcoming SIP due date, current NAV, common questions around selling and buying stocks, etc) quickly while freeing up important agent bandwidth. 

This allows more time for agents to focus on solving complex queries thus increasing customer satisfaction. A win-win for both.

Engage investors

AI voice bots can proactively nudge customers and notify customers about exclusive offers at the right time in a personalized manner to ensure that they transact regularly on the platform.

83% of customers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience (Accenture report). 

Hence, since the new wave of users is first-generation investors (those who’re starting their financial journey), it’s very important to not only educate and constantly engage with them but also invest in crafting an exceptional customer journey, to retain their minds and wallet share. 

What’s next?

While there’s a huge growth potential for the industry, increasing competition coupled with low customer retention rates are a few of the many challenges companies will have to tackle for sustainable growth. The only way they can solve this is by competing on the CX front by completely reimagining their customer strategy and providing an enhanced customer experience across different customer touch points.

About Skit

Skit is an Augmented Voice Intelligence Platform, helping businesses modernize their contact centers and customer experience by automating and improving voice communications at scale. By enabling preemptive, intelligent problem solving and seamless live interactions, we have automated over 15 million calls for global enterprises across industries. We help our customers streamline their contact center operations, reduce costs, and also enhance customer experience and engagement.

Connect with us if you’re interested in learning more about the platform and how it can modernize and transform your contact center.