Asynchronous communication refers to a method of exchanging messages or information where individuals can communicate without the need for immediate or real-time interaction. Unlike synchronous communication, which includes phone calls or face-to-face conversations, asynchronous communication allows participants to engage at their convenience, without requiring simultaneous availability.
When it comes to client engagement, asynchronous communication offers several advantages that can enhance the overall experience, through the entire lifecycle of the client. Here are some key benefits:
- Flexibility and Convenience: Asynchronous communication methods provide clients with the flexibility to contact their bank at their convenience. Clients can send their queries or concerns outside of regular business hours, knowing that a response will be provided when a bank representative is available.
- No Lost Client Engagements During Peaks: Synchronous channels have staffing needs based on peak times. Insufficient staffing can lead to lost customer engagements and increased frustration. Asynchronous communication allows for the smoothing and stretching of peaks by addressing a portion of the inquiries with slight delays during off-peak hours. This ensures that all clients will receive a response, albeit some slightly later.
- No Active Waiting Required: Unlike phone calls or personal conversations, asynchronous communication eliminates the need for customers to actively wait in queues or on hold. Waiting in line can be frustrating, especially during peak times. With asynchronous communication, clients can send their inquiries or requests and continue with their daily activities. They are then alerted when a response becomes available. This also applies to bank representatives trying to reach out to a client. The asynchronous handling of communication reduces frustration and saves valuable time for both customers and bank representatives.
- Thoughtful and Detailed Responses: Asynchronous communication allows bank representatives to carefully consider and craft their responses. They have the opportunity to gather necessary information, consult relevant resources, and provide more detailed and accurate answers to customer queries. Additionally, it is possible to assist with automation by suggesting a “next-best answer” that the agent can review before sending. This enhances the quality of customer service and ensures that clients receive comprehensive solutions to their problems.
- Documentation and Reference: The very nature of asynchronous communication methods ensures that there are written records of interactions between customers and the bank. This is beneficial for both parties as it ensures accurate documentation and the ability to easily reference important details later on. The traceability of the communication process also helps resolve any misunderstandings or disputes that may arise, as there is clear evidence of the communication. Additionally, it can be used to train machine learning models for better future responses.
- Suited for Automation: Asynchronous communication channels, with their written requests and messages, allow for automation and assistance through advisors that are augmented with prepared answers. By directing clients to recorded asynchronous channels, more requests become eligible for automation.
When comparing asynchronous communication with other commonly used customer service methods such as phone calls, emails, letters, and face-to-face conversations, we can identify the following distinctions:
- Phone Calls:
- Pros: Immediate interaction, ability to clarify information in real-time (especially useful for refining client questions), and potential for deepening relationships.
- Cons: Long wait times, potential for miscommunication due to lack of visual cues, limited ability to reference past conversations, and time-consuming caller authentication processes.
- Pros: Flexibility to send and receive messages at any time, known tools, documentation of conversations, and the ability to include detailed information or attachments.
- Cons: Unauthenticated and unencrypted communication that can be spoofed, significant source of fraud, and slower response times compared to phone calls or personal conversations due to additional security verifications.
- Pros: Formality and permanence of written communication, ability to include physical documents, and a sense of personal touch.
- Cons: Slow response times, potential for delivery delays, limited interaction for highly mobile clients, and limited back-and-forth interaction.
- Face-to-face Conversation:
- Pros: Immediate feedback, ability to convey emotions and deepen relationships, and quick resolution of complex issues through real-time interaction.
- Cons: Requires simultaneous availability at the same location, limited opportunity for referencing past conversations.
In summary, asynchronous communication offers flexibility, convenience, documentation, eliminates active waiting, and enables thoughtful responses, making it advantageous for bank customer service. While other methods have their own merits and can potentially complement asynchronous communication, it effectively addresses the need for efficiency, accessibility, and detailed assistance in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.