Mastering the online human touch in the financial sector

How can an online web journey retain an element of human interaction?

Ever since the dawn of the Ecommerce platform almost 30 years ago, financial institutions have sought to perpetually optimise their online journeys. Bounce rates have reduced, UX inertia is being continuously ground down, and more users are being lead through the funnel than ever before. Unquestionably, the process of financial applications has been getting slicker and slicker as the years have gone by, but as these processes become more and more automated, are they inadvertently putting off a key demographic who look for a recognisably human interaction?

Naturally, by streamlining online journeys, an element of human touch has been lost. While a streamlined journey in theory is beneficial for business, the absence of human style interaction features can cause distrust, and can lead to missed sales opportunities as the user doesn’t have adequate purchase support. But is it possible to retain an element of human interaction within an online sales journey?

In short, yes! While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any customer journey, an audit of key drop off phases in the journey and potentially confusing application points should reveal clear opportunities for human interaction based enhancements. Banks, financial institutions, and credit unions have all historically not been the most forward-thinking when it comes to tech advancements. However, the human interaction these businesses are crying out for can more often than not, be solved by tech advancements.

Humanising the digital journey with conversations

Fintech, as well as automating laborious processes, can allow for a modern human interaction in the financial services and banking industry. In years gone by, when a customer would be looking to choose between a range of financial products, they’d need to come out of the online funnel, and either call up a contact centre, or engage face to face with someone in a branch. Thanks to tools like live chat, the human interaction element can be retained, while the user keeps or even advances their position in the online sales journey.

Live chat functionality allows the user to have a full conversation with a financial services specialist, to eliminate any concerns or misunderstandings they may have. If correctly staffed, a seamless switch between browsing, to chatting, and on to purchasing or applying for a financial product can be achieved.

Research has found that customers value high-quality support over speed when buying online; there is a real desire from the end consumer to have a human interaction, personalised to their query, which live chat can provide. As well as the benefits the technology represents on the sales front; human interactions also reap long term benefits for companies who invest in it.

Human support that comes to life on the screen

Depending on the nature of your product offering and target demographic, other fintech advancements may also be of use in giving the customers the human interaction they are craving as part of their purchasing journey. Either alongside, or in place of a chatbox on a website, Co-browsing has also proven to be a beneficial inclusion to online journeys in the financial sector. While filling out online forms or navigating jargon-laden applications, often real-time human support, walking through the journey with you while you browse can be beneficial. This is exactly what co-browsing software can bring to the table.

If used in the correct scenario, the ability to overcome online journey obstacles together with the user can be invaluable, as it eradicates potential confusion over having to describe the situation. The human interaction brought about by way of this software can provide absolute clarity, which enables trust to develop between the consumer and business. As with any online feature, the proof is very much in the customer feedback. A study by Forrester showed that customer satisfaction for co-browsing interactions was actually higher (78%) than phone help (74%). This is surely in no small part down to the level of convenience brought about by having live personalised support, without having to deviate away from the end goal of completing an application or sale.  

Using chatbots to bridge any resource gap

A fully resourced online support team ready to hop in to assist customers proactively is widely regarded as best practice, however, this is often not possible within the financial confines of modern business. If the nature of your product or financial service leads to highly repetitive customer queries, to which you can provide a clear and concise answer, chat bot software may be useful to bridge the resource gap, while freeing up staff to cope with more complex cases. A well-tailored chat bot would even be capable of triaging customer queries between relevant departments, while weeding out the less complex questions that can be answered with a single line or two of advice, or link to a support article.

If a financial organisation is focusing solely on conversion metrics without looking to gain an understanding of the human interaction element of their offering, they may find themselves underperforming, without having a clear understanding why.

By remembering that any business is created by people, with a view to serving other people, a level of perspective can be realised. By Identifying where people need help and support along your sales journey, a clear scope can be realised for human interaction based fintech software. While each business is different, efficiency will be key across the board.

Find the right balance between a slick journey and intuitive support to continue to unlock the potential of your financial service business.


What is Co-browsing and why your business should know about it

New technologies are taking the world of banking and finance by storm. The use of co-browsing software is spreading quickly in the industry; here’s why.

As new applications and software developments keep gaining momentum and reshaping the ways companies in financial services operate, co-browsing is one of the latest technologies that is making an impact and getting noticed.

Agents in banks, insurance and lending firms, loan brokers and firms operating in the wider finances market as well as other industries, are increasingly adopting co-browsing as a means of building engagement and improving the overall customer experience.

What is co-browsing?

Co-browsing is short for collaborative browsing and, as its name suggests, it’s a technology brought to life by SaaS companies to allow representatives to navigate on a webpage at the same time as a visitor or customer online, to assist in different processes and in different stages of the customer journey.

By browsing together, a customer representative can show individuals around a page, and use extra features that usually come with co-browsing, such as dual-cursor and annotations, to make handy notes on the screen and interact with the user on the other side. This provides an online resource for assisting users more proactively, and can therefore be very effective for various procedures.

The functionality can be used alongside other channels to complement communication, such as video call, live chat, messenger, or even a traditional phone call. This way, co-browsing provides an extra layer in customer contact that adds a personal touch and creates a space for building loyalty and engagement.

Why is co-browsing relevant for the financial services market?

Many firms in banking and finances, including businesses in insurance and lending, still operate with lengthy and complicated processes. Even though digitisation has progressively taken businesses to move the process to the online space, the result is often a website that is not optimised for providing the best user experience. Customers applying for loans, credit cards or navigating through bank accounts can find websites to be tedious, and application forms to be confusing or very time-consuming.

Digital banking has innovated significantly especially in the last few years, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. It’s not uncommon for consumers to get stuck in the middle of an application process online, to get confused about what to enter in a specific field, or to give up along the process because it’s all taking too much of their time. 

Sometimes, all that users need is a simple conversation with an agent, and a question to be answered instantly. In this case, a live chat or instant messaging platform can be just what a business needs to qualify and convert the lead. The problem is that the challenge can be much greater when it comes to complicated websites and forms. Customers may not know how to word their doubts, and agents can struggle to provide an answer that makes sense on the screen. How to tell a customer “click on this button” when there’s 20 other buttons on the page? This is when co-browsing software can be tremendously handy.

Co-browsing is a tool that can help to fill this gap in the online journey. With a simple click, a representative can request the online user to grant access to browse together, and without any need for downloads or installation – the co-browsing session begins. The ‘show and tell’ form of interaction that is enabled through co-browsing creates an ideal flow for users needing assistance online.

Helping potential customers with co-browsing has proven to be more engaging and personalised; it helps businesses to convert leads quicker while contributing to customer success.

What about screen-sharing?

Screen-sharing is an older technology, which understandably gets often confused with co-browsing.

Both tools provide visual forms of engagement to assist in sales and support scenarios. They are also similar in the fact that demonstrations or sessions happen online and in real-time, making them effective resources to solve problems quicker. There are, however, some key differences between the two solutions. The advantages that each technology represents can make one or the other more appropriate depending on your business’ objectives and needs.

Co-browsing vs Screen-share: The differences

  • With Co-browsing, sales or support representatives can interact with the browsers to provide live assistance in an online session, but this is limited to a specific webpage. In Screen-sharing, the agent can access and control the whole screen of the user.
  • Co-browsing can be enabled on specific pages online, which means once this is done, each session doesn’t require further downloads or installation from either party – all that is required is permission from the visitor or customer. Screen-sharing typically does require both the agent and the online user to install the application that enables the session. In this sense, co-browsing helps to save time and minimise malware threats.
  • In terms of security and protection of the end user, co-browsing is a much safer tool to use. The latest co-browsing software tools include features to protect and mask sensitive information on the screen, such as confidential data or credit card numbers, so that users aren’t at risk of giving away this information. Also, as mentioned before, co-browsing sessions are limited to a single webpage; access to other tabs or pages on the browser are restricted, further protecting consumers’ personal data.
  • In screen share, the agent has full control and can take over to solve a problem, with little or no interaction from the end user. Co-browsing, on the other hand, is more designed for demonstration purposes, which means the agent doesn’t require the same level of control over the user’s interface. With features like notes on the screen and dual-cursor, they can simply show the user what to do, pinpoint elements or highlight sections on the screen, in order to get the end user to complete a task.

Where to go from here

For businesses, and especially those operating in the financial services space, visual engagement tools can be highly effective for both sales and support objectives. It can also make a huge difference in enhanced customer experience, helping you to stand out from the competition.

Co-browsing presents a safer alternative to screen-sharing, that can be used for guiding customers along the online journey, to engage with them from the moment contact is made and to prevent drop-off points on their business site – aiding in conversion, quicker sales, and customer success rates.


How Financial Advisors can improve their customer experience

From the traditionalists, to the new kids on the block, everyone can learn a thing or two from the fintech revolution

Financial advice is anything but a new phenomenon. Steeped in tradition and upheld in academic practice, most people at some point in their life turn to a financial advisor when making a decision on where to place their hard-earned cash.

Such is the level of analysis and detailed interrogation of statistical evidence required to conduct a reasoned piece of financial advice, it’s understandable that the Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) industry has developed a reputation of being somewhat laborious.

However, given the easy access plug and play nature of the digital age, there’s no excuse for any industry not to turn to modern tech to kick their customer service offering up a notch and alleviate any potential pain points in the journey.

Live chat: Reducing friction to enhance the journey

Navigating potential customers through a miasma of intake forms and nuanced question sets can be a major blocker in terms of conversion, so anything that reduces the friction and white noise around this intake process has to be a good thing for those in the IFA industry.

For example, the simple addition of live chat functionality to an IFA website can serve as an invaluable route to boost lead numbers and collate them straight into a CRM tool to be actively pursued.

The impact of chat and instant messaging for improving lead conversion is hard to dispute; recent studies have shown that these online conversational platforms can increase revenue per hour by up to 48%, and increase conversion to sale by as much as 40%.

The logic behind this would be that many potential customers can be over-awed by the number of options they have in front of them in terms of supplier and product. A quick live chat session can eliminate many concerns they have, and help guide them to a point where they become a qualified or valid business lead.

Most users will have a rough idea what service they require, and if you can defuse the one or two concerns they may have, simply and effectively, then the path to conversion becomes much more promising. There’s even the added bonus of being able to lead capture via form fields when your live chat agents are unavailable or offline.

New tech to go the extra mile

If the IFA service offering is a more phased approach, then perhaps co-browsing may be more suitable as a replacement for, or supplement to live chat.

Co-browsing allows a user to share their screen with a customer service or sales agent at a company, with a view to talking the user through a more complicated journey, or series of options. Given the number of variables at play and the obsequious adherence to technical jargon in financial services, it makes perfect sense for any grey areas to be removed by way of co-browsing.

A recent case study by Glance Networks indicated that the introduction of co-browsing directly cut down the time taken to convert a new customer to a sale by 60%. An efficiency gain of this magnitude would be a stellar enhancement to any IFA’s bottom line, and can be achieved via a fairly modest tech spend.

Technical enhancements of this nature defuse potential drop off points throughout a sales journey; depending on the nature of the IFA, or the market they operate in, the deployment of live chat or co-browsing software can be tailored to maximise the potential returns. It may be the case that both tools contribute positively to performance, but proper analysis should be conducted, so as to plan out a bespoke implementation for maximum effect.

While a competitive advantage is gained not solely by a smoother online journey, it’d be foolish to discount the impact it can have if integrated after a proper analysis of key points in the journey. Through close attention to the site’s analytics, the users’ behaviour will show where they are becoming confused, overwhelmed, disinterested, or dropping off the site entirely.

An increased bounce rate in particular on a web journey should serve as enough of a stimulus for any IFA to review the information they are presenting to a user, simplify is where possible, and add a leverage point like live chat or co-browsing to ensure that a higher proportion of their traffic reaches the next stage in the journey.

These types of tool can give an almost immediate return for IFAs, but beyond that, they can serve as the first step in a longer term development strategy. For example, if trends emerge via live chat or co-browsing feedback, this can help shape where an IFA takes their approach. Themes could be anything from pricing, product suitability, or transparency of the terms; all of which could be modified over time to be more enticing for a customer.

There is no one size fits all approach, and the market never stays still, so constant analysis and iterative creation is absolutely necessary. Anything an IFA can do to make life easier for a potential customer lost in the consideration phase of the sales funnel will have a benefit for both parties.

Analyse the setup, spot the opportunities for improvement, and smooth out the rough edges with the help of on-site enhancements.

Boost your customer experience with Ibby

At Ibby, we are combining the latest tech for financial advisors to optimise their customer journey. From chatbots to messaging workflows, open banking features and co-browsing – we can empower your journey to make sure you are equipped to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.  

Looking for a chat solution tailored to financial advice? Sign up to start your free trial and discover the power of conversational automations for financial advice.


How brokers can use fintech to become customer-centric

Fintech can give insurance brokers a competitive edge. Use it to put customers at the centre of your business.

Financial technology (fintech) is developing at a rapid pace. Its impact is evident across the industry, from service delivery to customer care. In particular, the insurance sector will “feel” the impact of fintech more than others according to the World Economic Forum. In a recent industry study, 74% claimed that they viewed fintech as a “challenge”.

Fintech has raised clients’ expectations of the industry’s online services and tools. Customers now expect their needs to be central to service providers’ business models. It has also put personal insurance brokers under more pressure. Now they have to compete with other brokers as well as insurers that have developed self-service tools to encourage customers to bypass intermediaries.

More insurance brokers are adopting a customer-centric approach to remain competitive. Early adopters of emerging customer service technologies are already seeing the benefits. 40% expect their investments in technology to improve customer loyalty. Despite this, most brokers have been slow to power-up their strategy with fintech. Those who have, are in a better position to meet clients’ demand for a smart, customer-centric approach.

Here are ways that insurance brokers can use fintech in their customer-centric approach.

Guide users along the customer journey

Customers want websites to be simple to use; they expect tasks to only take a few clicks to complete. They have little tolerance for lengthy online application forms or complex onboarding processes.

Customer-centric brokers understand where the potential pain points are for clients and are ready to offer extra support at crucial stages of the customer journey. Many are turning to co-browsing software to reduce the drop-off rate on their site. The dual cursor technology lets them step-in and guide users through complex processes in real-time.

This show and tell approach is a convenient and fast way to remove unnecessary friction. By browsing together, brokers can transform areas of tension into opportunities for collaboration. Co-browsing software does more than deliver an excellent customer service experience. It facilitates in-person support right at the start of the relationship which can help build customer loyalty. Some are taking it a step further by combing co-browsing with live chat to solve issues quicker.

Answer questions in real-time

Live chat software for insurance brokers is fast becoming an industry norm. The ability to answer customer questions in real-time is no longer a “nice to have”; it’s a core part of brokers’ customer care strategy.

Here are ways that an embedded chatbox can help reduce brokers’ website drop-off rates:

  • Customers are more likely to ask for help if they can’t find what they are looking for.
  • Questions about application forms or the onboarding process can be answered immediately.
  • Embedding a chatbox on a website keeps users on the site. If they leave without completing their task, they may not return.

Live chat is also being used to cut down on the amount of time spent chasing leads that turn out to be unsuitable. Automated chat templates can ask pre-qualifying questions before connecting new business leads to a broker.

Analysing big data

Technological innovations like fittech (such as Fitbits) or telematics (in-vehicle technology that records driving behaviour), are collecting and storing personal data all the time. BIBA notes that “Insurers are using their wider pools of data to better analyse trends” in the Brokers’ Guide to InsurTech.

Fintech can help insurers and brokers make sense of the data that comes from these devices. If they can work with big data, the insights can help identify new business leads and improve risk analysis. Issues arise when insurers and brokers don’t have the right tools in place or don’t look at the data.

Customers have a duty of disclosure before entering into an insurance contract. However, they don’t have to disclose information that insurers already know or are expected to know about. If emerging technology can transfer customer data directly to an insurer, does this fulfil a customer’s duty of disclosure? If an insurer has access to big data but isn’t using it, does it count as information they ought to know about?

In some cases, a big data transfer to the insurer may not fulfil a person’s duty of disclosure. Customers will expect their broker to keep them right at the pre-contract stage. To do this, brokers need to understand big data so they can advise customers on what they need to disclose. Failure to do this could lead to disputes in the future.

Insurance brokers are also paying more attention to their own data collection and management CRM strategy. They are investing in sophisticated platforms that collect, store and analyse customer data. These insights can drive engagement, allow them to personalise their service and ultimately, shape their wider business strategy. At Ibby, we’re helping insurance brokers to capture data from multiple customer touchpoints with our CRM tool.

Free up time to build relationships with clients

Innovations in AI has transformed the insurance industry. Early adopters are already benefiting. An industry report by Accenture found that:

  • 40% claimed that AI-based technology has created operational efficiencies.
  • 80% expected virtual assistants to handle over half of their interactions with customers in the next 5 years.

Chatbots are becoming a popular way to reduce the volume of customer service calls. With live chat automation, customers can receive instant answers to common questions 24/7. Chatbots are even being used to direct customers to useful online resources such as webpages. An “always-on” approach to customer service means that insurance brokers never have to miss a lead. Using chatbots for lead generation can support businesses by capturing users’ details and storing them in the CRM.

With advances in machine learning, chatbots will become better at interpreting customer questions. Eventually, they will be able to handle complex queries which will free up even more time for brokers.

Despite the rise in automation, developing personal relationships with clients is still an important part of brokers’ businesses. Also, insurance brokerage is a complex task that requires an expert to make the final decision. This is why brokers are taking a hybrid approach to business automation. By using AI to automate some jobs, they can free up time to focus on strategic tasks. Rather than handling frequent customer service calls, brokers can now work on developing key client relationships. By better understanding their clients, they can offer a more strategic service.

Become an omni-channel business

Clients want interactions with their insurance broker to be convenient and quick. To be a successful omni-channel business, customer-centric insurance brokers need to facilitate customer communications across a range of platforms (website, messaging apps, email, social media, etc.).

Customers are comfortable using new messaging apps in their personal and professional lives. Today, more people use social media for customer service queries and to learn about services. Businesses need to be prepared to use multiple messaging platforms to send and receive client communications.

They must also join-up the data as much as possible. Customers don’t always stick to the same method of communication which can make tracking interactions challenging. If a customer submits a query to a chatbot and then follows up with a call, they don’t want to repeat the information they entered into the bot. Customers appreciate it when brokers can access all their information in one place and use it to move the conversation forward.

Managing different platforms can be extremely time-consuming if it’s done manually. There’s also a risk that messages could be missed. Messaging software that has a multi-channel inbox can solve these problems and make it quick and easy to communicate with clients on social media platforms like Facebook as well as by email, live chat and SMS messages.

Step up your game with the right tools

Advances in fintech can be implemented throughout all stages of the customer journey to help insurer brokers get the upper hand, and we at Ibby can help! We’ll show you how to use our platform to harness chatbot technology, co-browsing and messaging automations to turn your processes into a customer-centric powerful business.

Sign up for free or request a free online demo!


3 Ways for SaaS companies to reduce churn with live chat

Keeping churn rate to an absolute minimum is a priority for businesses in order to achieve and sustain growth. Here’s how a live chat platform can help!

Churn rate is the percentage rate at which customers stop using a company’s product or service. In many cases, the reasons that make customers decide to stop using your product or service are out of your hands. Like they say “it’s not you, it’s me”. But when it’s a matter of customers feeling let down by your service, that’s when you can – and definitely should – do something about it.

For companies that provide software as a service (SaaS), messaging has assumed a pivotal role, and live chat platforms can be a great resource for helping to reduce churn rate. Live chat can not only help at the top of the sales funnel with lead capture, but also help with nurturing and retention by keeping customers connected, building up your users’ loyalty from the moment they engage with you on your website.

Here’s 3 ways you SaaS companies can use a live chat platform to lessen customer churn:


1- Re-engage customers with auto messaging


One of the most common reasons driving customers to stop using a product is disengagement. While some customers can make a sudden decision to leave your service, what often happens is that they gradually disconnect.

User activity is a key indicator for future problems – customers who aren’t active with your product are most likely losing interest, and they are at risk of slipping away. It’s therefore important to keep an eye on activity, get feedback and keep communication alive.

Talking to your customers is key: it’s the most effective way to keep them interested and engaged. This is where messaging automations play a huge role.

Automation workflows can help you to set timed messages to be delivered to specific people, at the right time, to prevent leads from falling off the radar and customers from losing touch. It’s important to segment your audience and chose the right messages to deliver that can re-engage inactive customers.

When adding links on your emails and messages to your web pages, you can use live chat to prompt auto messages in a personalised way. Greet your customers with a tailored message and invite them to talk to you. Messages like “we missed you!” or “glad to see you back!” can go a long way in showing customers appreciation and help you to re-engage them.


2- Integrate live chat into Your SaaS App


You will have noticed the numerous websites featuring a little chat bubble stuck in the corner, ready for visitors to reach out if they have a question (yup, there’s one right here too!). But why are there not more chat widgets inside SaaS products?

It’s about time SaaS companies realise the true potential of instant messaging; take customer support to the next level and facilitate communication via live chat, right from their application products.

Integrating live chat in your app means your users can reach out to you at the very instant they encounter a problem, to potentially get instant help. Getting help in real-time is the way forward to provide great user experience and maximise customer support.

Enabling instant communication from the app allows SaaS companies to solve problems quicker, giving customers more reasons to stick around.


3- Keep track of customer satisfaction rates


A crucial step to reduce churn rate is keeping track of customer satisfaction rates and gather feedback regularly. Feedback is a great resource for gaging satisfaction and improving churn rate.

Customer surveys are incredibly valuable to collate the insights that you need; identify customers expressing disappointment and react to keep satisfaction rates on a high note.

Live chat platforms with help desk and customer service features usually include feedback surveys and reports based on satisfaction rates. Making the most of these tools can help you to keep customers happy and reduce churn rate.


The importance of investing to mitigate churn


Churn is directly related to burn rate, so when thinking about the impact of churn and how to mitigate it, businesses must put things on the balance and compare all costs.

The greater the churn, the more capital is required for the business to simply maintain revenue. SaaS companies must balance growth, churn and cash for working through maximum viable churn.

In general terms, SaaS startups can afford to invest significantly more in retaining customers to improve churn rates, because retaining existing customers is less expensive than finding new ones. Moreover, investing in customer success to grow existing accounts can be a more cost-effective way to reduce churn than increasing spend for new customer acquisition.

When considering how much it should be spent on managing churn, Tomasz Tunguz has evaluated  SaaS benchmarks and estimates that companies can spend up to 3 months’ worth of contribution per customer on churn management.

Though this can serve as a guideline for many subscription businesses, it will really be down to each company’s variable metrics.


Get your hands on the latest messaging tools to turn the churn around and retain more customers. Sign up with Ibby today, as one of our early adopters you’ll get started with a 3 month free trial!



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