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Develop Versatility in the Call Center to Ramp Product Sales

One of the main challenges for many financial services institutions is how to achieve product-driven business objectives without lowering customer satisfaction. One of the areas where the impact from this challenge becomes visible can be found in the call center. This is where the quality of expertise provided by your outsourced call center vendor should come into play.

Creating Higher Conversions in the Call Center
Let’s say that you need to supplement online sales efforts for a new product through cross selling in your inbound call center—and without hiring additional agents. Currently, your inbound call center is a services queue with no product sales. But, in order to meet this year’s revenue objectives, your inbound call center needs to produce a revenue stream in addition to retaining and satisfying existing customer needs.

Your call center vendor should possess the required expertise to take an existing service line and successfully incorporate a sales component. This will allow you to maximize each and every customer touch point based on uncovering needs that can be matched to offers for your new product in a way that will also increase customer satisfaction.

One issue that can keep banks from capitalizing on the ability to increase the successful conversion for new product offers while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction is when call center services are divided among multiple vendors. When this situation occurs, customer information can become fragmented across call centers that serve different customer needs. Without the customer’s full account history, it’s often impossible to harmonize service across the customer’s lifecycle or to identify how the offer of your new product will best meet their needs.

This situation can result in lower conversions and a fragmented experience for customers. But the bank in this situation is also hampered from creating consistently higher closes for new products that become available when one vendor runs multiple high-volume programs. This is because once a framework for service combined with sales is in place, it can be scaled out across programs to ensure consistency in service—as well as revenue growth.

Protecting Customer Satisfaction When Introducing New Products

It would be nice to think that there will never be an adverse situation that will displease customers enough to diminish satisfaction levels. But that may not be realistic. Occurrences over the last five years have demonstrated that situation as being all too real. Product launches often come with unforeseen glitches that must be addressed swiftly and smartly. The question banks will need to answer is that, if and when such an event occurs, will our customer services provider be able to manage it well enough to protect customer satisfaction?

During an adverse event, you need a vendor with a strong methodology that enables them to react quickly to formulate a uniform plan, make adjustments in agent training and perform continuous improvement as they learn more about handling the situation effectively.
The following three steps can help your call center rise to the challenge of addressing an unforeseen event:

• Step 1: New Case Scenario Solutions

A number of new cases and scenarios will result from an event. The first thing to do is to document them, design how agents will address them and determine which metrics they will impact. Average handle time (AHT) could be one to consider. These solutions show the correct way to solve a difficult case, within an acceptable period of time with a higher level of satisfaction on the part of the customer. The call handling solutions should also be standardized so that all calls of the same type are handled in a uniform way to correct the issue and encourage new product adoption is successful.

• Step 2: Cross Coaching

Cross coaching refers to the performance review provided to representatives by an alternative indirect superior. The purpose of this is to provide more diverse feedback which leads to more comprehensive opportunities for service and offer improvement. In a nutshell, indirect superiors meet with direct supervisors and quality analysts to identify potential operational and procedural problems. The information collected is then shared with the Training and Quality department that then develops new training designed to address the specific challenges identified.

• Step 3: Training Enhancements

To effectively absorb the excessive call volumes that occur with new product launches, agents from one market can be cross trained in the different segments to become multi-functional. The resulting diversity in capability and skill of the call agents results in a process that maintains targeted customer satisfaction and AHT levels across all industry segments.

When all is said and done, it’s the versatility of a bank’s call center that will determine how well new product launches can be managed while also protecting customer satisfaction. Since customer satisfaction is the foundation for the bank’s profitability, it follows that customer service should become the hub that, in turn, serves the bank’s line of business objectives for increasing size of wallet with its highly satisfied customers.