Dealing with Customer Service as a FinTech Startup
When you are working with people’s money, they hold you to a very high standard. There is no industry under more scrutiny than finance. And there is no one with more on the line than financial technology startups, known commonly as a FinTech startup. If you are interested in the world of FinTech or RegTech, don’t underestimate the needs and costs of customer service.
The most basic form of support these days is email support. Using a contact form on your website, users can submit questions about their account and get a response via email. This is powerful because virtually everyone has email, particularly people that are customers of FinTech startups. However, there are some downsides as well.
Email support does not guarantee a rapid response time even during business hours, so some customers may be agitated if that is the only option they have to reach you. Further, keeping customer account details secure is vital in FinTech. Even with SSL and great email systems like Gmail, there are some serious security concerns when using email, so it shouldn’t be your only customer support option.
Those little icons at the bottom right of websites that allow you to instantly reach support are great innovation in customer service. Like email, chat support has pros and cons of its own. The biggest benefit of chat support is the live, instant nature of the interaction. Customers can get a rapid response to any question or problem with the help of a real person.
However, it also has its downsides. First, you have to supply staff to respond to the inquiries. Staff can be very expensive. Startups have to watch their precious cash, and staffing live support can amplify an already stressful burn rate.
Phone support is a standard with large financial institutions, but not as common in FinTech. Like chat support, phone support requires having the staff available to answer during live hours. Some support staff can manage both the phones and chat, but as your business grows you will need more people.
Phone support can be outsourced in some cases, but in FinTech products are generally so complex and sensitive that everything is better handled in house. Like with chat support, this is a great service to offer your customers. However, you have to do it right or it can end up becoming a liability.
If you offer phone or chat support to your customers, you had better be ready to take the calls and the messages and respond instantly. Otherwise you are setting false expectations. A bad customer service reputation can sink an otherwise successful startup.
3rd Party Support Management
Lucky for FinTech companies, another industry of startups has emerged to help businesses manage customer service through a cloud based platform. Some of the biggest names in this industry are Zendesk, Zoho, and Freshdesk.
Each of those platforms has its own pros and cons, but the basic idea is similar. They offer a single hub to offer customer service online regardless of how you were contacted. Some of them even monitor social media platforms like Twitter to look out for unhappy customers who took their complaint public.
With these platforms, a small team of support specialists can answer any customer need at any time from any source. Having a centralized support system can save a ton of time and improve efficiency. Even if the cost is a turnoff, the cost of vocal, unhappy customers can be much worse.
Find What Works for Your Business
Every business is different. Some might lead to one form of support over another. It is best to start small and focused and do a great job on one form of support before adding more. Diving in with too much at once is a recipe for disaster.
Start with a plan, stick to it, and adapt as you grow and your business will be home to plenty of happy customers. There is no better advertising than the word-of-mouth support of a happy customer, so make sure every customer is happy with every interaction. That is the recipe for FinTech success.