When our customers change, we must too

March 22, 2021

Life is about change

Economic outlooks change, your customers’ needs change, and your competitors’ strategies change. It is an attribute of the surviving and successful business that are able to adapt to and anticipate these changes. The change which you must successfully adapt to presently is the challenge of remote customers. In truth, this challenge has been coming for some time.

Technology has enabled remote work, online learning, online ordering, and online banking. Trends have been shifting to this mode of interaction for some time. But what was previously a distant tide on the horizon, is now a crashing wave as remote interactions are preferred by customers or required by compliance to meet health mandates. If you have been adapting all along, you may already be familiar with these challenges, but if you have been shocked by the new world of remote customer interactions, there is help.

For businesses of every kind, the challenge is ensuring your customers’ satisfaction with remote interactions while receiving very little feedback from the customer in remote applications.

Our current environment requires a completely different way of working

First the obvious, you can’t pretend nothing has changed. Attempting to work as you did before will find yourself lacking important information about your customers’ needs and their satisfaction with your services. In the past, any unsatisfactory experience would have been clearly written across your customer’s face, prompting your staff to easily identify and resolve issues. Today, being unable to discuss your customers’ needs in person, your representatives may be ill-equipped to recommend a swift resolution or offer additional value-add services.

Second, an escalation from your customer used to be just a step away. Now the odd look goes unnoticed behind a brightly lit screen, miles away, or hurriedly missed during a ‘drive through’ encounter. The effort required for a customer to reach out to you for a resolution is now higher. They must sit in a service line queue or engage with a representative over email. What’s worse, instead of engaging about their experience, customers are more likely to let time pass and try to ignore the issue, causing a slow leak of loyalty.

Every good customer interaction is an opportunity to cement the relationship: when a customer exits an interaction unhappily, it is the death of that customer’s long-term business with you. This dissatisfaction, long endured and compounded by any future discontent, will eventually present itself as attrition.

How to make customer interactions exceptional

When you have so little direct feedback from the customer, it’s important to lean into your data to enhance your customer interactions. Using data science, customers can be segmented by their demographic profile and interaction history, wherein commonalities between them are identified to give us an indication of how current or future customers will react to similar interactions.

Some examples of how FIS has used a variety of data science techniques on behalf of clients, include:

  • Service anomaly indicators – used to identify customers who have service interactions that depart from the “typical” interaction (too long, too short, too many handoffs, etc.). These customers may need a follow up to confirm they were satisfied with the resolution. This is comparable to a representative reading the body language of a customer and seeing something just isn’t right.
  • XGboost algorithm – used to build several attrition models which predict the customers who are at the greatest risk of attrition. Using this information, we can be proactive with outreach campaigns, empowering retention agents to contact risky customers, solve problems and make things right.
  • Collaborative filters – leveraged to identify customers who would be a good fit for products based on what similar customers have purchased. Pairing data-driven insights with context-specific touchpoints allows us to meet the expectations of our customers while being efficient with resources.

The speed of change only accelerates the need for more data and actionable insights to help financial institutions and merchants better understand and engage with their customers. Like many of our clients, FIS has ramped up our investments in data, most notably through our Ethos™ data ecosystem, where we’re helping clients get easy access to a comprehensive suite of data solutions. This includes access to their processing transaction data, as well third-party data and industry-leading tools in one place. FIS is able to leverage our scale to develop these solutions in order to help clients maximize the lifetime value of their customers.

About the Author
Eric Hickman , Senior Manager of Data Science, FIS
Eric Hickman Senior Manager of Data Science, FIS

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