Getting more members, customers and prospects (consumers) to interact with you online is vitally important. Aside from naturally capturing rich information about your consumers digitally as they ask questions, view information and set alerts, your digital support channel provides many other benefits for both you and your consumers. Even the smallest organizations are only left with anecdotal consumer information if only left to extract information from their in-person and phone support, since all they really have to leverage is the actual transactions conducted by the consumer, rather that the consumer's buying propensity that can be gleaned during the online support process.

It's good for your consumers:

  • Safer and more convenient: No lines, no traffic and no risk of personal harm.

  • Accessible any time (even when your phone branch or location is closed): Ability to get information and ask questions 7x24 from virtually any location that is most convenient for the consumer.

  • Private and secure: Ability to ask questions AND get answers securely online, providing much more privacy than allowed using the phone, which is important since a significant amount of inquiries are made from a non-private workplace setting.

  • Anonymous: Ability to quickly and easily complete research on various personal financial issues in the comfort of the consumer's home without facing the potential anxiety and embarrassment caused by the fear of looking dumb.

  • Non-Threatening: People hate all forms of conflict and generally will avoid it at all costs. Asking questions and providing feedback online is much more insulated and enables consumers to say things that they otherwise might not. Fuze often witnesses consumers giving companies a chance to make amends to what they believe to be unsatisfactory service and support, rather than just taking their business somewhere else.

  • Fast: Most younger or more technically savvy consumers expect to have the flexibility and speed afforded by the online experience.

It's good for your organization:

  • Less expensive: Helping consumers in-person or over the phone is expensive. Booz, Allen and Hamilton have shown that Internet transactions are 1/100th the cost of branch transactions. Frost & Sullivan Research estimates the cost to have an employee answer a question at between $8 and $30. Most financial institutions staff their contact centers to have no more than a 2% call abandonment rate during peak periods, assuming that a consumer will abandon the call if on hold for more than two minutes. Assuming consumers expect a response online within 4-6 hours (as stated by Jupiter Media Matrix), your staffing levels to accommodate peak periods with 4 hours to respond is much less than what is required to respond within 2 minutes! Click here for more on this topic.

  • Increases customer loyalty: Bank of America claims that online banking customers are 50% less likely to leave their bank.

  • Improves cross-sell opportunities: You can learn so much more about each individual user of your products and services by getting them to ask questions and complete initial research in a medium that can easily record and analyze valuable consumer information. This is especially true of research, which reflects potential consumer needs not reflected in current transactional histories. Only anecdotal information can be realistically captured if dependent on consumer-facing staff elaborating on interactions.

  • Accelerates online banking adoption: Financial institutions (FIs) have spent millions of dollars developing their online delivery channel only to see a disappointing consumer adoption rate and poor ROI. Even the FIs that are doing relatively well may have 80%+ of their consumers not using their online channel, failing to attract anything more than the early adopters of technology. To get their non-early adopters to use their online channel, FIs must provide their consumers with a way to gradually acclimate themselves to this new channel. Interacting online via familiar email and Web forms along with completing research online allows consumers to gradually get comfortable with the channel, while providing FIs with the opportunity to promote the advantages of their online banking products and services. The end result is an acceleration of online banking adoption rates.

  • Targets profitable customer groups: Online users are affluent and their numbers are growing.