Can a humble contact center strategy that relies heavily on 19th-century technology with long rows of employees wearing headsets transform contact center operations for banks? The answer is, NO. For banks to become nimble and digitally adept institutions, contact centers must be reborn to redefine customer journeys.
For the most part, legacy contact centers fail to meet customer expectations. In a Bain and Company survey, 115,000 banking customers evaluated their interactions with their banks across 17 countries. They ranked contact centers dead last and were significantly more satisfied by communicating using other digital channels, especially mobile.
So, how can these banks revitalize their contact centers and transform them into a mission-critical core for improving customer interactions? Let’s look at the strategic and operational imperatives that retail banks must incorporate in their future operating model for digital transformation in the banking industry.
6 Ways to Enhance Contact Center Experience in The Banking Industry
The world’s customer contact centers field approximately 270 billion calls annually, and the total expenditure is close to $600 billion. Many of these calls are already highly automated via voice recognition and other advanced technologies for faster call processing. But, digitalization in banking can help these centers deliver better customer service at a lower cost. Here is a look at how retail banks can evolve their contact centers and improve customer loyalty and profitability:
- Build an Omnichannel Hub
Banks can rethink their contact centers as a critical element in their overall distribution of digital banking services (and not consider them a burdensome necessity) to create an omni-channel hub positioned for stellar customer interactions. Adopting an omnichannel approach at the core of banking strategies integrates multiple digital channels seamlessly to deliver an uninterrupted experience. To truly build an omnichannel hub, banks must develop capabilities around implementing advanced analytics, conducting marketing personalization across various channels, and motivating the sales force.
- Embrace End-to-End Customer Experience
Banks should break the barrier between channels and aim to provide end-to-end, seamless customer experience. When a customer transfers funds, the transaction may involve more than one channel (maybe a combination of online, mobile, voice, chat, and email). For instance, consider the example of a customer having difficulties transferring funds digitally from one account to another, where the individual contacts a capable agent and resolves the issue. However, the person may still give negative feedback on the interaction with the bank because only switching channels could solve the problem. Thus, customers’ perception of just one channel can affect their feelings about the whole experience.
- Proactively Manage Migration to Digital Banking Service
More than 70% of present-day bank contact center calls are avoidable and better managed by digital channels. A study conducted by a reputed financial institution revealed that 40% of customers were in front of a screen when they reached out to bank contact centers to resolve an issue, making it relatively easy for agents to guide customers on how to use the bank’s digital applications. Thus, by helping customers migrate to digital self-service, banks can reduce call volumes and costs while improving overall customer experience and retention.
- Effectively Train and Reward Contact Center Agents
A digital contact center requires digitally adept agents. As more and more customers embrace digitalization in banking services, contact center agents need training in digital technologies to sell new products or support complex issues. As the channel and product mix evolves, retail banks should rethink their sourcing strategies to tap into top talent pools. In such cases, it makes sense to insource or re-shore contact center operations rather than outsourcing or offshoring.
Measuring the efficiency of new-age contact centers with a different set of metrics is crucial. How rapidly the agent answers the phone and how many calls they handle per hour are things of the past. The more important questions should be:
- Was the customer’s issue effectively resolved?
- Did the agent help the customer navigate to digital?
- Has the agent received any more callbacks from the same customer on a related problem?
The agent performance should be less-oriented around internal metrics and more focused on customer outcomes such as call satisfaction.
- Take Advantage of Advanced Technology
Banks can leverage advanced technologies to give customers more choices for interactions. Leading retail banks go beyond phone calls, email, and chat to offer services over social media, video, and co-browsing for an enriched customer experience. Banks can also implement analytical tools to enable prescriptive analytics by allowing contact centers to move beyond responding to customer issues and begin anticipating them. With remote diagnostic tools, agents can reach out to customers for impending red flags, suggest improvements and prevent problems before they occur.
- Embrace Agility
As retail banks implement holistic strategies forcontact center transformation, they should also design and introduce innovative products using Agile test-and-learn techniques. Banks have the opportunity to spread the change beyond contact centers to physical branches and other channels for redefining customer journeys in today’s complex world.
Contact Center Transformation: A Key Pillar of The Retail Bank of The Future
Although it may involve considerable investment over time to build a dynamic, customer-centric contact center, it is well worth the effort. With the right technology and agent training, creating a multi-channel hub for end-to-end customer experience helps banks stand out, deliver exceptional digital banking services and attract new business. Forward-looking retail banks realize the pivotal role of the long-neglected and underappreciated contact center in improving customer experiences and promoting migration to digital.