Citi Cuts the Chit out of Chat

Posted by
Alon Waks
LivePerson Contributor
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 16:33

Cold. Hard. Cash. That’s what banks and their customers are supposed to be all about. But it’s not that simple. (It never is, right?)

Just as Uber and GoFundMe changed the way we think about getting a ride and finding investors, the latest in fintech changes the way we think about personal banking. When was the last time you walked into an actual branch instead of using your phone, anyway? Consumers expect their banks to offer convenient workarounds whenever possible.

Sadly though, it looks like many financial institutions are still playing catch-up. And even more sadly, a new study finds that only 23% of consumers are content with their bank.

That’s exactly why Citigroup Inc. is growing its online messaging footprint internationally — and doing it with LivePerson.

>> Related read: Citi Expands Online Chat to Improve Customer Service

Dawn Cooper, global head of client at Citigroup, knows every chat counts, especially as banks face increased competition from digital upstarts and mobile apps for money-management services.

As a result, Citi is going even more consumer-centric. “So many clients are going online, and they need help and real-time responsiveness,” Dawn says. Because consumers are used to quick and intuitive e-commerce transactions, they want this same seamless experience from their banks, too.

Show me the money!

Like many industries, banking consumers crave a simple, painless experience. But unlike other trades, 71% consider their banking relationship to be transactional rather than relationship-driven.”

The more convenient, the better. So, to improve the customer experience, banks have tapped into technology. Below are just a few ways fintech has made our lives just that much easier.

  • More mobile: With 76% of all banks using mobile, the industry is more accessible than ever before. Mobile-banking customers can manage the basics (think: depositing checks, paying bills, and checking balances) all from the convenience of their smartphones.
  • More efficient: Banks can help more consumers more often with integrated technologies. Using predictive data analytics, banks can tailor relevant support through behavioral insights.
  • More immediate: Consumers don’t need to call a 1-800 number to get help. With live messaging, they can communicate with customer care professionals when it’s convenient for them.  


>> Related read: Can LivePerson Slay the 1-800 Time-Suck with New Mobile Product?


Inside Citi’s digital transformation.

Since 2009, Citigroup has used messaging to give consumers a smoother and easier experience. Today, the bank deploys LivePerson software in more than 70 instances online.

In addition to helping consumers when (and where) they need it through messaging, Citi uses real-time behavioral data to refine current operations. As Dawn explains, “You study chats like calls and make fixes so customers don’t have to reach out and ask for help.”

One prime example: Citi noticed consumers were activating text chat when they wanted to link separate accounts (for example, personal loan and credit card accounts) but didn’t know how. By studying chat records, Citi adapted its process to have customer care professionals proactively ask customers from the start if they want link accounts, addressed the problem head-on.

The banking industry’s opportunity to connect.

As more consumers turn to live messaging to pay their bills or open new accounts, banks’ customer support centers will begin to receive fewer and fewer calls — further fueling the death of the 1-800 number.

As consumers want to “react in real time and on their own terms,” thanks to messaging, they now can.

It’s the job of customer care professionals to give consumers the real-time help they need to solve problems. Brands that don’t innovate the experience will fall behind in the new year. We look forward to seeing what’s possible with Citi — a brand truly focused on customer service disruption.

For a more in-depth look at how financial institutions can drive sales and personalize their online experiences, download How to Connect with Customers, Differentiate Online Services, and Build Loyalty in Financial Services.

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