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.


Moving away from email: Embracing multichannel comms

B2C Communications are usually a complex mesh of points of contact. Using multichannel communication may be the best way forward for converting more customers.

Instant messaging, email, phone, social media – so many channels to communicate with customers lead to teams losing track of where conversations started, where they should scale to, and wasting time on deciding how to best collaborate.   

Email is one particular tool that is deeply rooted in customer communications, and as such it will be around for the long haul, especially seeing as its usage is constantly on the rise.

On average, people spend over 4 hours a day checking work emails and over 3 hours checking personal email. This always-on email culture suggests that email isn’t going away – a reason why businesses need to find a way to make the most of it.

The challenges of working with email as a team

Because email is not designed for teams but built as a one-to-one channel, there’s a few challenges that come with trying to use email to collaborate with your team:

Working through your inbox is like going down a rabbit hole

The ton of email the average worker has to process every morning has become a major hindrance for teams’ productivity.

Toggling between personal accounts and a teams’ inboxes, deciding what’s actionable, applying filters, forwarding or looping colleagues in an endless chain – it’s a struggle most teams have to deal with on a daily basis. Workers spend hours trying to get their inboxes to zero, leaving not much time to focus on the most important tasks.

Disjointed inboxes create team barriers

Companies usually create multiple addresses like info@, sales@ or support@ to provide easier ways for customers to get in contact with the relevant team. But this usually creates barriers amongst teams and complicates collaboration.

The approach of multiple emails ends up in agents having to rely on forwards, CC’s and BCC’s, or even multiple platforms to try and work together as a team. On the other side, confused customers often decide to fire off multiple emails to different email addresses, increasing the chances of teams working disjointedly or duplicating effort.

Email inboxes work in silos

Email is great for simple communication, but when people try to use it as a means of team collaboration – on things like group discussions or working together to update files – it’s chaotic.

Email inboxes are a trap for relevant information; agents spend much of their valuable time trying to retrieve key pieces of information from an inbox, going through countless email threads to find files, or emailing colleagues separately to ask for assistance. It can be truly painful.

To help mitigate the confusion that emails generate, teams often resort to meetings in the best intentions of getting things done. But how often do these meetings end up being pointless and unproductive?

Ibby to the rescue: a better way to collaborate.

We built Ibby to make communication easy not just with your customers, but also with your teammates. As an all-encompassing messaging solution for teams, Ibby addresses the common pain points of working with email with 3 practical features:

1- Conversations: Ibby’s multi-channel Inbox

Ibby’s Conversations work as a unified inbox collating messages from your visitors and customers, coming in from different channels: live chat, email, SMS and Facebook Messenger (we are looking to include more channels in the near future!)

The concept of a centralised command centre for communications is ideal for teamwork: teams can receive and respond collaboratively, to different channels, from one platform.  

  • All communications in one space. Email is not the only point of contact – there’s live chat, SMS, social media – and Ibby integrates all your business channels in one Conversations tab. This makes it easy for your team to manage communications and get back to customers no matter how they reach you.
  • Quicker response times. Ibby’s Conversations counts with a highly intuitive UI, helping your team to respond quicker and more effectively.
  • Notifications. Customisable notifications in Ibby mean that you and your team can get notified when incoming messages arrive from any channel, by email or inside the app, or with browser notifications – your choice!
  •  The power of context. Your Conversations smartly connect communication threads with your contacts – giving your team all the context necessary to act on cases with accuracy. Digging in your email for hours to find what you need to know will soon be a distant memory.

2- Private Chat: Collaborate behind the scenes, in real-time

As part of your Conversations, Ibby is equipped with a Private Chat mode for agents to collaborate in real-time and drive productivity, behind-the-scenes!

  • Let conversations flow to close more sales. Connect with other teams and colleagues while chatting with visitors to get work done and close deals quicker. No more team barriers.
  • Discuss things in real-time. Stop relying on email and discuss things with your team in real-time; the proper way to instant collaboration.

3- Live chat designed for teams

Need to collaborate on a conversation as a team? We’ve got that covered too.

  • Engage in live chat as a team. With Private Chat, teammates can mention each other to get them involved in conversations, so that you can engage with visitors and customers in live chat as a team. This means that, when the circumstances require team action, the conversation is not just one-to-one, but team-to-one!

Ready to spend less time on email and get more work done?

We bet you are. Most teams have experienced the pain of wasting too much time with email, but we at Ibby are working to change that.

We know how much businesses can benefit from intuitive messaging tools that make teamwork easier. And we know how much effective teamwork can result in happier customers! 

Try Ibby for free and start powering your team to boost productivity, sales and support.


Conversational Commerce: It’s time to chat

Conversational commerce presents a massive opportunity for the future of marketing and sales. Learn all about it and how easy it can be to get started.

The ways consumers shop online and interact with businesses are changing. With the use of smartphones transforming our world, online users want instant answers, and companies need to streamline their operations to tackle the challenge. It stands to reason why there’s been so much talk around conversational commerce.


What is conversational commerce?


In 2016, Chris Messina described it in an article as follows:

“Conversational commerce (as I see it) largely pertains to utilising chat, messaging, or other natural language interfaces (i.e. voice) to interact with people, brands, or services and bots that heretofore have had no real place in the bidirectional, asynchronous messaging context.

In principle, Conversational Commerce consists in the notion of facilitating sales with conversations. The concept has existed for as long as humans buy and sell, because trading has forever involved discussion; whether it’s in meetings with salesmen to discuss products, phoning companies to check stock or asking questions in person to assistants in shops.

For the world of ecommerce, communication has been a little different. Emails dominating the digital dialogue for years has meant that the conversation hasn’t exactly been real-time, but this is now quickly shifting.

With the rise of AI, voice assistants and instant messaging tools; real-time conversation has progressively become a core part of the online shopping experience – and live chat is assuming the protagonist role.

Live chat is the epitome of conversational commerce online. Asking questions is innately human; hence, when given the chance, online consumers jump at the opportunity to engage in chat and ask for help before completing a purchase.

The benefit for businesses is clear; engaging with visitors online is equivalent to assisting potential customers coming into a shop for help – a superb resource for closing a sale.

Live chat has the ability to shorten the sales funnel to a single conversation. Without the need for emails going back and forth, time-consuming Internet search, form submissions or other broken means of communication – a visitor who engages in conversation via live chat can immediately be assisted, qualified as a lead and turned into a customer.

When it comes to closing sales, time is of the essence – and with the power of real-time conversations, you can close deals in minutes. That’s the great opportunity. Live chat is allowing businesses to easily capitalise on instant messaging and increase sales, whilst enhancing support online and boosting customer engagement.

Asking questions is innately human; hence, when given the chance, online consumers jump at the opportunity to engage in chat and ask for help. #BusinessMessaging Click To Tweet

Getting on top of the game


Conversational commerce is here for the long haul, re-shaping customer interaction for the future. If you’re not giving your visitors and customers the chance to chat with you online, you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

Getting started with live chat is easy and it doesn’t have to cost you much. In fact, with Ibby, you can get started for free!


Live chat support: 10 tips for best results

Ready to engage with visitors on live chat? Here’s a list of 10 top tips for communicating effectively and make the most of every opportunity.

Live chat gives you a fine chance for engaging with visitors online, answer questions instantly and turn them into customers. But it’s important to know what works well and what doesn’t, so here’s a guide with our top ten recommendations to help you to maximise results!


1. Introduce yourself


Start the conversation with a friendly greeting and an introduction with your name. Don’t rely on your avatar or information displayed on the chat window to tell visitors who you are – introducing yourself directly is an important step to start establishing rapport with customers.

Sharing your name will also help humanise the interaction and assure your visitor that a real person is ready to take care of the case.


2. Keep it human


In spite of all the hype around chatbots, several reports on customer service stats show that people still want to talk to a real person, so do your best to power your live chat support with helpful humans.


3. Use the right tone


The tone that a customer service agent adopts has the ability to express a range of emotions, which presents both opportunities and risks. Remember this, so that you can strike a conversation with the right tone and provide a positive experience for every interaction.

A relatively informal (but always professional) tone will help you to come across as friendly and approachable.

Also, don’t be shy with the use of emojis, people love them!


4. Be quick


Your response time is crucial in live chat service. The point of using live chat is to keep the conversation real-time. Consumers expect an instant response, so the optimal response time in live chat is circa 10 seconds, and under 1 minute.

Help yourself with canned responses when appropriate to provide a quick response, and stay alert with notifications to stay on top of all conversations.


5. Be proactive – make the most of visitor data


The best live chat tools are equipped with live website visitor analytics that give you a real-time view of your visitors online: you can see where your visitors come from, what they are browsing, how much time they spend on your website and more.

The trick is in using this data to your advantage, as it allows you to get really close to prospects and proactively engage with them.  Do you see someone spending a lot of time on your pricing page? Chances are they are struggling or have some questions – offer some help! 

Monitor your data to identify prospects online and start a conversation. A data-driven approach can help to improve conversion rates and sales.


6. Avoid transfers: chat as a team


We’ve all been there – as customers – in the unfortunate event where we get switched from department to department; or asked to send an email or call a number to get the support required. Sadly, this happens in live chat too!

Luckily, with Ibby, you can invite users to a live conversation with a visitor or a customer, to get them the instant help that they need. No need for transfers.

Chatting as a team can not only provide quick assistance, but also delight your visitors with the level of service, as most people don’t expect to talk with more than one person on live chat!


7. Keep messages short


Keeping your messages short will help you to provide a quicker response. Try to send short messages composed of 1 or 2 sentences; keep them informative and to the point.


8. Be patient


Sending multiple messages without allowing your visitor the chance to read can give the wrong impression.  Give them a moment to think and get back to you – this will help the dialogue to flow naturally.


9. Deliver personalised service


Providing a personalised service is key to customer satisfaction. In fact, a research from Accenture found that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers who use personal data for providing a more personalised experience.

Keeping this in mind, make the most of contextual data that can give you all the customer insights you need to provide tailored support. Start by addressing your customer by name!

Live website analytics also provide helpful insights for a more personalised service.


10. Set expectations 


Managing expectations is vital for customer satisfaction rates. You can choose to display your typical response time to let your visitors know what to expect.

In addition, you can use the welcome message on your chat window to show your support hours if your company doesn’t operate 24/7; or to inform your visitors of certain things like downtime or if you are short staffed on the day


Succeeding with live chat is easier than you think – it all starts with choosing the right software. With Ibby, you’ll be ready to deliver a live chat experience that meets demands and delights your customers. Sign up today and get started for free!

Using the power of conversations to scale customer service

Customer satisfaction has become the new Holy Grail of business. There’s no two ways about it – customer satisfaction drives business growth.

Satisfied customers not only buy from you; they come back and buy some more, they talk to others about you, who then also buy, and so on.

It’s no wonder that so many companies speak about obsession with customer service excellence, but are they really meeting consumers’ demands and expectations? And what is the impact of great customer experience?

To help answer these questions, let’s take a look at some stats;

  • Only 1 in 5 companies deliver good or great customer experience (Forrester research)

  • Customers are willing to pay as much as 4.5 time more for an excellent customer experience (Forrester research)

  • 61% of customers globally switched companies due to poor service in 2017. (Accenture research)

  • 77% of customers would recommend a company to friends after positive customer experience (Temkin Group)

  • 73% of companies with “above average” customer experience maturity perform better financially than their competitors (Temkin Group)


The challenge is that today’s customers have high expectations, and not much patience. They now expect companies to know more about them, and they want responsive, personalised support that can help them with problem solving and with making better choices.

On the other hand; many service teams don’t have the tools to engage with customers and support them at a granular, personal level.

Companies have to keep a strong focus on personalisation; and acknowledge that catering for each customer personally is paramount to great customer experience.


Meeting customers’ needs with real-time conversations


Success today calls for the ability to meet customers’ needs and expectations in real time. An effective solution? Eliminating barriers with real-time conversations.

Real-time conversations can humanise the online customer experience and provide the most personable form of interaction for online consumers.

Did you know that over 70% of customer satisfaction has been reported to have come from live chat? As a low-friction point of contact, live chat is the ideal conversational platform that can make all the difference in delivering truly personalised service.

Unlike putting customers in a queue, raising tickets that can take days to resolve or making them interact with multiple levels of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems – a real-time conversation with a helpful human on live chat can provide immediate assistance. It stands to reason why live chat has won a place as the preferred channel for customer contact.

A significant side benefit of implementing a live chat tool is that it can provide analytics for tracking visitors’ activity on websites in real-time. Capturing real-time data of visitors and customers provides agents with valuable insights and context to achieve new levels of personalisation.

Simply put, good service means good business. Increasing customer satisfaction requires empowering teams with effective tools for communication, data gathering and automation – to enable agents to have real-time conversations with customers to deliver more meaningful, personalised service.



Take Customer Service to the next level with Ibby!


We, at Ibby, are working on an innovative message-driven solution for business growth; to enable teams to use the power of real-time messaging to increase sales and scale customer support. We would love for you to have a first-hand experience – Sign up to start chatting and delighting customers!


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