In my last blog I discussed how customer interactions via contact centres have evolved for banks and insurers. I also outlined what the future might hold for banks and insurers looking to keep pace with FinTechs and other disruptors. In this blog I’ll detail how financial services contact centres can pivot to digital.

How to transform your contact centre

To keep up with the rapid pace of change in consumer preferences and evolving competitive landscape, how can banks and insurers build their business case to transform their contact centre and what opportunity does it represent?

  1. Whilst digitisation agendas have focused primarily on web and mobile over the last decade, investment in contact centres is now required for this channel to keep up with digital and provide a truly frictionless cross channel customer experience. This means prioritising the contact centre digitisation agenda.
  2. Financial services institutions tell us that people are calling in unnecessarily, often for simple transactional queries. With the right incentive or education, they could complete these transactions themselves digitally. This represents an opportunity to create capacity within contact centres.
  3. Contact centres are people intensive and run on legacy platforms/architecture. This represents an opportunity to optimise operating costs.
  4. Banks and insurers are playing catch-up. Other sectors such as communications, media & telecoms are providing a superior level of customer service which is fast becoming the minimum expectation from consumers. Failure to change will result in a downturn in customer satisfaction scores and a potential loss of customers should a competitor or new entrant create a better service.

Transformation levers

How can banks and insurers transform wisely? As always, the overall recipe hasn’t changed. These initiatives continue to be centred on three core levers:

  1. Reducing unnecessary interactions into contact centres – This will help also improve the agent experience by having them handle higher value interactions.
  2. Optimising the remaining interactions and operational running of contact centres – This will reduce average handling time (AHT) and improve agent utilisation.
  3. Focusing on the people – This will improve an agents’ time to competency and the employee experience (and this will ultimately drive a good customer experience).

Adoption of new technology is the catalyst for starting the journey to digitise contact centres. Innovations across analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) can help provide insight into why customers are calling, where best to deploy AI powered virtual agents (chatbots) and also predict when customers are likely to call to allow for proactive deflection into digital channels.

For the remaining interactions coming into contact centres, AI/Robotics can also be used to support the agent (‘bionic agent’) providing advice e.g. knowledge management tips, giving next best actions to further cross sell products,  resolve issues and better predict and manage intraday spikes in interaction demand and supply.

…and don’t forget your people

It looks like contact centres will be around for a while yet as it’s a key channel to communicate with customers, so it has never been more important to focus on people. Historically attrition has been (and continues to be) one of the top three issues for contact centres globally with an average of 27% attrition for entry level agents in the US.  But this wave of change, driven by digitisation, provides an opportunity to shift contact centre culture from the perceived notion of a low skilled, monotonous, temporary/seasonal job to an exciting, fast paced and rewarding career.

Improvements in recruitment, training and onboarding through gamification, flexible learning and improved performance management/coaching can help bring out the true potential of the contact centre workforce of the future.

If banks and insurers can get that right, they will be well on the road to providing a digitally-powered customer experience that centres on making it personal, secure and easy for consumers to interact with them whilst retaining a manageable cost base. For more details on how to blend physical and digital channels to deliver a frictionless customer experience please download our UK FS Customer Survey report.

In my next blog I will detail how to harness new technology to meet the challenges of changing customer preferences and why the performance of digital remains an obstacle for reaching call reduction targets.

My thanks to Damien Griffin and Vaibhav Patel for sharing their expertise on this topic.

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