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Building Customer Confidence through the Contact Center

Customer confidence in the contact center can play a big role in customer loyalty as measured through willingness to recommend and likelihood to repurchase. There are a number of components of the call process that can impact the confidence of a financial institution’s customers. With the need to not only maintain, but scale share of wallet and length of customer lifecycle, the quality of the experience provided by the contact center can play a pivotal role in achieving those goals.

From the IVR to speaking to a live agent to call resolution, there are nuances to be addressed every step of the way. Financial institutions have historically been seen as caring more about themselves, than their customers and the trend is proving difficult—but not impossible—to reverse. Case in point is the focus Wells Fargo has applied to improving customer experience with the IVR which has earned it an increase of 11 percentage points over the last two years. Citi has demonstrated improvement in both overall call satisfaction (up 9 points) and agent satisfaction (up 11 points) since 2011.

There are tradeoffs to consider. For example, it is speculated in the research by Vocalabs that Wells Fargo chose to reconfigure its IVR to make reaching a person easier, even if they need to be transferred later. In effect, they put customer service ahead of cost with this choice. And, even though 42% of customer calls required transfers to a different agent, Wells Fargo’s overall call satisfaction scores did not suffer—which is a finding that runs against the sentiment usually reported by customers who experienced a transfer during their service call. In fact, with 70% overall satisfaction Wells Fargo scores higher than Chase, Citi and Bank of America.

Call Factors that Weaken Customer Confidence

  • Call Transfers: Customers are much happier when they reach the right person who can solve their problems on the first try. In research conducted by Vocalabs, customers who had to be transferred to a different agent reported satisfaction scores that were 14 points lower than customers who did not experience a transfer during their service call.
  • Hold Times: While research shows that customers will say that two to three minutes of hold time is not unreasonable, their satisfaction with the call is still lower with that length of hold time. The longer the hold time gets, of course, the less satisfied customers are with the call. However, even with hold times of one minute or less, overall call satisfaction is only 75%, indicating that direct access to an agent or the quality of call resolution could contribute to improvements.
  • Agent Authority: Agents who are empowered to resolve a wider variety of issues can boost customer confidence and overall satisfaction by easing the customer’s effort to gain a desirable outcome.
  • Repetitive Steps: Customers asked to repeat themselves or answer questions that do not appear to be relevant to the issue in question are more likely to feel like their time and status are not being respected.
  • Difficulty in Reaching an Agent: As was discussed above, the ease of reaching an agent can offset difficulties in other areas. Customers’ expectations revolve around real-time access and agent availability is a strong factor that instills confidence in financial institutions when matched with agent authority.

Advancing Contact Center Efficiency through Personalization

The overarching theme for what customers want can be defined as efficiency. Contact centers that provide easy access to knowledgeable advisors who can provide streamlined interactions and communications that answer needs and meet expectations will win higher customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.

However, the true complement to efficiency in the contact center is personalization. Customers expect you to know who they are; that they’ve exchanged their personal information in return for a higher-value experience. Nearly half of financial services customers asked think banks know enough about them to offer personalized services. This combination can serve to boost customer confidence, as well as the effectiveness of contact center operations.

Customers surveyed for the Cisco Customer Experience Report – Financial Services also say they are favorably disposed toward:

  • Identity theft security (83%)
  • Increased savings (80%)
  • Financial education (73%)
  • Providing more personal information to simplify financial management (56%)

For financial institutions looking to improve revenue generation—in addition to satisfaction and customer confidence—matching offers to personal information could provide a pathway to achieving those goals.

Customer Confidence Builds Advocacy

As digitally savvy as financial services customers are becoming, increasing their willingness to recommend your institution to their family and friends can fuel the onboarding of new customers. But willingness to recommend is dependent upon the level of confidence an institution can help its customers to achieve. The contact center can play a pivotal role in connecting the dots across call factors and customer expectations for personalization to produce experiences that will drive this outcome.

Perhaps more importantly, the expertise of your contact center vendor can capture and share the insights from the contact center across the organization to help improve overall consistency at every touch point—an outcome that can also drive cross-enterprise improvements to the business.