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Call Center Evolution is Critical for Customer Retention in Banks

Banking is a regional business that must address needs and cultural drivers that exist in branch locations. This reality is also true of the call center—regardless of where it’s located. This level of attention to detail is especially important to incorporate as banks work to rebuild trust eroded by the credit crisis, improve service to meet customer expectations, and reduce attrition. All efforts will need to be coordinated to the unique requirements of the regions where they operate.

A survey conducted by Ernst & Young in 2011 learned that worldwide trust in banking relationships has declined by 44 percent, on average. However, banks in the United States had the highest decline, at 55 percent. The impact of this decline in trust is quite high when considering that 39 percent of respondents to this worldwide survey also indicated that the main reason they choose a bank is based on their perception of brand strength.

Although it is much easier to damage a bank’s reputation than to repair it, stemming attrition is dependent upon a bank’s ability to deploy initiatives that serve to reinforce customer values and deliver on promises made. Of people that choose to change their main banks, the top two reasons include level of service and a perceived lack of competitive pricing.

Your call center should play a pivotal role in reducing churn by increasing both satisfaction and loyalty – often dependent on processes which may be counter-intuitive. This can be accomplished when agents are armed with the tools that enable them to use customer data to tailor offers and service propositions. A strategic approach that sets and delivers on market-leading customer standards can pay dividends by reducing attrition.

Preventing Customer Attrition

Seven percent of customers worldwide are planning to change their main bank. Personalized services and competitive pricing are the two most influential attributes that banks can use to prevent customer attrition. Call center agents can help to increase ties to the bank with personalized services that result in an increase in the number of products each customer holds. The more products held, the less likely the customer is to make the effort to change institutions.

Four Components to Minimize Attrition

The call center provider you choose will play a pivotal role in your institution’s ability to stem attrition. But so will the processes and technology that is deployed to support them. The combination of the processes, people and technology should be integrated and complimentary. For example, a call center vendor should be able to supply you with a strategic approach to combining the following four components with a goal of minimizing attrition:

  • Successfully capture and use customer information to increase service value and experience.
  • Employ a voice of customer program that invites customer feedback to help identify those at risk of attrition for proactive engagement.
  • Continuously evaluate employee performance based on defined customer service standards.
  • Analyze down to the root cause of customer dissatisfaction to inform the creation of new programs and services.

The Payback from Improved Customer Retention

When considering funding for call center services, the ability for call center agents to increase retention by providing a personalized and satisfying experience can pay huge dividends. For example, Bruce Temkin at Forrester Research found that the quality of customer experience could cause a swing of $242 million for a large bank and Frederick F. Reichheld, of Bain & Company found that a 5 percent increase in customer retention yields a 75 percent increase in customer net present value.

At a time when every effort undertaken by banks must reinforce brand strength and customer experience, choosing the right strategic approach for call center services can produce a dramatic impact to both revenues and relationships.