In today’s financial world, customers want a personalised, fast, seamless, immersive, cross-channel digital experience that satisfies, and even anticipates, their needs. This is especially true of millennials, a generation quickly becoming the dominant demographic. If we combine millennials’ expectations with their fundamentally different banking and investing habits, then it’s clear why modern brokers are changing their approach to address these challenges.
The financial services industry is in full transformation mode in response to changing customer expectations and government regulations, but the road is steep and the competition fierce. Stricter consumer privacy regulations add layers of complexity to digital initiatives. Today’s customers expect near-instant gratification and resolution. Just2Trade provides intuitive platforms and apps, self-service capabilities and click-to-call/chat communication, among other innovations.
Our goal is to deliver personalised customer support services of the highest standard to all of our clients. At Just2Trade, customer service has gone well beyond the call centre operations of the past to become a veritable ecosystem of digital and human assistants. Customer representatives still remain incredibly important in the customer’s journey. However, their role is shifting to providing more specialised financial customer service rather than simply administrative assistance functions.
The strength of our customer service impacts our bottom line and affects how our company is viewed by the world
Financial matters are highly personal – approaching every customer with the same generic set of questions and offering them the same set of financial solutions would make us seem more like a machine than a client-centric institution.
So to meet the increased expectations of our clients we have built a team of proactive client support representatives who understand their customers and possess the skills to effectively address their problems.
We understand the importance of trust in financial services. Solving problems requires a tactical approach involving both technology and interpersonal skills. An empathetic customer relationship is especially important. People must be able to trust those in charge of their finances. Building trust means showing the customer that they are being heard.
We believe in being transparent with our clients. A lot of mistrust comes from the idea that information is being withheld. Due to the nature of financial services, there are certain things you simply won’t be able to say. Though you may not purposefully be opaque, if you’re not mindful it could easily appear that way to a client. We strive to be empathetic in all our customer interactions.
Most consumers (individuals and small businesses) see financial institutions as large, non-human entities that do not care about their individual problems. This is particularly relevant for millennials, who want convenience along with a personal touch. Studies have found that millennials consider financial institutions to be among the most unlikeable of brands. Attracting this demographic therefore poses a huge challenge, but one that we are rising to at Just2Trade by combining technology with human expertise to engage millennial customers and optimise their experience.
Training for success
The first steps are education and industry training. Money is a sensitive topic for everyone, so having frontline employees with exceptional interpersonal skills and a high standard of education is an asset for any financial institution. This is why we have invested in training our employees to have them ready to navigate all possible scenarios. All our customer-facing employees receive extensive training so that they are aware of the full range of services we offer. They are also well versed with industry trends and best practices, enabling them to suggest what will work best for each of our clients.
We have eliminated slow service delivery and long wait times, an area where many financial institutions fall down. Many financial institutions rely on outsourcing customer support to third-party service providers to cater to customers’ requests and problems. In our view, however, adding a layer of outsourcing only adds more hurdles and delays to a client’s service process. More often than not, when a customer calls for assistance, they have to navigate through lengthy interactive voice response systems (IVRs) and then wait in a queue to get connected to a customer service representative. These customer service reps might then need to route your query back to the IVR or to a specialised department, which only adds to customers’ wait time and frustration.
To avoid losing customers via this route, instead of outsourcing, we have leveraged technology and automation to scale customer service and control costs. We service our clients directly. Even with in-house customer service teams, however, there’s the risk of delays occurring when employees are prevented from actioning solutions due to company procedures and regulations. To get around this problem, we empower our advisors to solve problems on the spot, making decisions that resolve issues without having to get a manager’s permission first. Our internal policies and procedures give them this freedom but still keep them accountable for the quality of the service they offer to our clients.
It may seem like the cost of training risks eating away at the company’s bottom line, but this will be made good by customers who stick with us because of our exemplary customer service. Investing in our workforce in this way is fundamental to the successful running of the business.
The other side of the customer service coin is, of course, effective use of technology. Artificial intelligence solutions allow us to ensure the constant availability of our services and quickly detect and resolve usability issues or malicious activity against the company’s applications and systems. Monitoring solutions, for example, provide early fraud detection, helping to reduce false positives and improve the accuracy of identifying actual fraud cases. Employing such strategies enables us to work more efficiently to protect our customers’ sensitive data, providing a service that is reassuring yet doesn’t place undue stress on the customer, as we deal with fraud behind the scenes.
Technology is also a boon when it comes to client on-boarding. Opening a brokerage account has historically been a time-consuming and complex undertaking, and one that required meeting in person. By integrating artificial intelligence solutions in our client on-boarding procedures – authenticating the validity of IDs, auto-populating form fields and performing live face recognition, for example – the process of account opening can take as little as 10 minutes as opposed to days or even weeks.
The value of feedback
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” This classic Warren Buffett quotation has only become more relevant since the dawn of the digital age. It’s certainly a motto we live by at Just2Trade, where the strength of our customer service impacts our bottom line and affects how our company is viewed by the world.
We strive to continuously improve both the human and technological elements of the Just2Trade customer service experience, and feedback is key in this endeavour, critical in our understanding of customer satisfaction. We analyse customer service data like ticket reopen rates and time-to-resolution as a matter of course, as well as monitoring certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs – which include growth in client assets; customer retention rates; average resolution times; and volume of client complaints – provide a look behind the scenes at how we interact with our customers. Using this information enables us to make better decisions for our customers who, seeing their specific needs met, are inclined not only to continue to work with us, but also to become corporate brand advocates.
But KPIs alone are not enough. This data, as well as that gleaned from our customer relationship management and helpdesk tool, can only tell part of the story. No one can anticipate customer needs better than customers themselves, so we also solicit customer feedback directly via online surveys. By doing so we gain valuable insights into whether customers’ needs are being met, what financial products or services they’re interested in, their financial goals for the future, how their customer experience can be improved, and more.
It’s these insights that enable us to stay nimble, responding to customer need with new services and products, trouble-shooting existing ones, and making our customers feel valued. It is unsurprising therefore, that we’ve seen impressive growth in the level of client assets invested in recent years (see Fig 1), a trend that we believe will continue as new and existing clients recognise the importance of excellence in customer support services.
Just2Trade looks to the future with confidence and optimism. Our substantial investment in customer support services has paid off and will continue to do so. Financial services are changing, and we are ready for this new world.