Video Conferencing and Your Bank

By Deb Stewart

Your customers use videoconferencing to see their doctor, to take a class, to have a business meeting, to talk to their family and friends…the list goes on and on.

So when will it be as common to videoconference with one of your bankers? Some banks are already there—and survey data indicate that many more are about to follow.

From in December 2016 through January 2017, video conferencing technology provider Vidyo, along with Efma (an international banking association) and CUNA Strategic Services (a credit union trade group) collected data from 282 financial institutions across 63 countries. Here is some of what they found:

  • 20% of respondents have deployed at least one form of video banking, compared to 10% in their 2016 study.
  • More than 40% are piloting a video service, compared to 30% in 2016.
  • And more than 80% are planning to offer video banking in the future.

“Although this was an international study, results on deployment strategy from banks in North America were entirely consistent with the rest of the world,” said Brian Gilman, VP of Marketing for Vidyo. “What’s notable about this is that financial institutions of all sizes are evaluating video banking as a part of their channel strategy. So whether banks have five branches or 5000, video banking is becoming a valuable tool to connect with customers.”

Gilman pointed out Springfield, Missouri-based BluCurrent Credit Union as a great example. BluCurrent operates only three physical branches. It has implemented a video solution in each of those branches to connect its members with banking agents in a simple, secure manner. New account openings, loan originations, problem resolution, and other services are done through these agents. This maintains “an efficient, personal connection that they have found meets their customer needs.” he added.

How are banks deploying video?

It varies. The most common means of access are a scheduled call with a banker (45%), click-to-call from an in-branch kiosk (40%), and click-to-call from your website (35%). “Most often a financial institution will start to use video to focus on one specific portfolio, like mortgages or high net-worth customers,” Gilman said. “Financial institutions are looking for more ways to proactively engage with these clients at the point of purchase and during their key financial moments of truth. They find that video based face-to-face communication provides the same level of trust as an in-person visit. And many times these first implementations are being used as proof points to expand into other channels or customer segments.”

Bank of America and RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) provide examples of how this may occur.

Video staffing at Bank of America branches.

With 4,600 financial centers, Bank of America is always looking for ways to meet the evolving needs of its customers. The bank has been an early adopter of video conferencing technology in-branch, piloting various forms of the technology since the early 2000s. In 2014 they began a rollout of video conferencing in over 700 branches, expanding access to experts in small business products, mortgages and investments. In 2015 they began a rollout of over 500 video teller ATM machines across the country.

Bank of America’s recent introduction of three virtual centers puts video at the center of its branch delivery strategy.

Each of these centers features a cardless-enabled ATM, and has one private room that can be accessed with a smart phone or with a debit or credit card. Each room is equipped with a screen that accommodates multiple participants. The customer’s initial contact will be with a generalist banker—who will triage the customer’s need—and either continue the service themselves or bring in a specialist on a split screen.

This approach allows the banker to either remain engaged in the conversation or provide a warm hand-off to the specialist. Either the banker or specialist can share charts, graphs, spreadsheets, documents, and capture signatures—virtually recreating the traditional branch experience.

Looking into the future for video, Bank of America is adding interactive kiosks inside the virtual branches to help with navigation. Beyond that step, they are considering a “virtual greeter,” a banker who will pop up on a video screen when triggered by motion in the branch. They will greet the customer personally and help with navigation.

RBC brings your business banker to you.

The usual brick and mortar, 9-to-5 banking model has evolved in many ways. Customers now demand on-the-go access to bank representatives and services from wherever they may be and on whatever device they have available. Video banking is helping RBC provide this convenience to customers while maintaining a personal connection. Beginning in December of 2017, they introduced a service that connects small business clients to the bank or directly to their banker through video banking on their computer, tablet, or mobile device.

“We continue to serve clients in new and innovative ways as their banking lives evolve,” said Cathy Honor, SVP Contact Centres, at RBC. “Now, our clients don’t need to give up their face-to-face connection with RBC if they are unable to visit a branch. Video banking empowers them to bank and maintain their personal relationship with RBC, when and where it’s convenient for them.” RBC sees video banking as the next step in convenient banking.

When an RBC business customer connects with the call center, the agent determines whether there is a need for a video call. If the customer agrees, the agent then sends a video link via email. The customer can simply click on the link to connect via the web, or if they are on a mobile device, through an app. All call center agents using this technology have been trained in video conferencing engagement. In addition to the face-to-face interaction the banker is able to share charts, graphs and documents in real time.

Is it working?

The adoption of video banking is still developing—therefore few banks have shared results. Although the sample size was relatively small, the Vidyo video banking survey did ask current video users about the impact in several areas.

  • 64% said that video banking has increased customer satisfaction.
  • 72% said that video has increased the perception that their organization is innovative.
  • 62% said that video banking has decreased branch workload.
  • 60% said that video banking has created faster customer service.

Initial findings have also indicated that video increases NPS (net promoter scores), and sales closure rates are equal to or higher than those in other channels.

How do you do it well?

Security is key. “Ensuring a secure experience needs to be the top priority. We use FIPS 140-2 compliant encryption, TLS, SRP, AES coupled with LDAP, and AD based authentication to ensure high levels of security for our customers,” Gilman said. “Understanding how your video collaborations will be secured is critical to your implementation.”

Create a high quality experience across different bandwidths. Over time your customers may access your video call center through many different channels:

  • Web chat escalation to video
  • Voice escalation to video
  • Click to video chat from a webpage or mobile app or through an in-branch scenario

As you assess video solutions look to the future and ensure that customers will have a high quality end-use experience regardless of available bandwidth.

Create a professional call center experience. Bank associates who will be using video need to be trained to use it. Maintaining eye contact, professional appearance, understanding how to use shared tools effectively, and other details must be a part of training. The call center space must be designed to avoid distractions such as people walking behind the video agents. A branded backdrop provides consistency of experience and brand reinforcement.

Have a video scheduling system. “You’ve gone into the branch because you want to talk to a person,” said Martin Shire, branch transformation executive at NCR. “Universal bankers may not be authorized to sell a mortgage or investment product. It’s critical to have a scheduling system that lets the branch banker connect the customer to an expert right away or set up an appointment at the customer’s convenience.” These same considerations apply in out-of-branch scenarios where call center staff is connecting customers to specific relationship managers or other specialists.

Be purposeful in introducing the technology to your bank staff and to your customers. Your existing bankers may see the introduction of video bankers as disruptive to their client relationships. Communication at all stages of implementation is critical. Specific training for branch staff, investment advisors, business bankers, or any other impacted areas should focus on working together with these agents—and how that will benefit their clients. Impact on performance assessments or compensation should be addressed directly.

Is now the time for video banking?

Several factors have come together that may be leading us to “yes.”

  • Branch customer visits are continuing to decline. Video provides a tool to ensure you can meet your customers’ needs during any visit without having product experts in every branch.
  • Online and mobile customers continue to expect more from these channels. Video may be a tool to support online account openings, complex problem resolutions, or other needs that are challenging today.
  • Other industries have gone before us. If consumers are ready to talk to video healthcare professionals for the convenience, sharing financial information seems a little less daunting.

The technology is ready, the consumer seems ready…

Let’s see what the next year will bring.

Deb Stewart is a contributing editor to ABA Bank Located in Charlotte, N.C., she is an independent consultant working for the financial services industry. Email: [email protected].