The Need for Blended Call Centers in a Multi-Channel World
July 23, 2014
July 23, 2014
Today’s customers want choice and control over how, when, and where they conduct banking transactions. The proliferation of accessible channels has created preference differences across generations of banking customers, with many preferring to use multiple channels based on what they need at the moment and which device is close at hand. The challenge for line of business managers at financial institutions is to determine the best way to incorporate the various channels to manage customer lifecycle needs and to more successfully cross and up-sell their products to offset the cost of each channel.
Unfortunately, for many banks this is easier said than done. The quality of multi-channel banking interactions appears to remain more of an abstract idea, than a consistent and seamless customer experience. However the importance of establishing just that is becoming critical for customer longevity. Brett King, author of Bank 2.0 sums it up nicely, stating;
For a business, the correlation may be the purchase of equipment or financing a new branch location. Line of business managers for financial institutions must never forget that their products and services are a means to an end for their customers, not the end in itself. In an effort to connect the dots, it’s imperative to empower your call center agents with the customer activity and response information they need as their duties expand beyond voice interactions to incorporate email, online and social channels.
Consider this scenario that might occur for a customer of deposits products:
In this scenario, the customer used three devices and numerous communication channels to resolve her issue. If this scenario was played out at your bank, would the customer be as satisfied? Would the up-sell have happened?
As inbound and outbound activities merge to create a blended call center
environment driven by channel proliferation, new processes must be put in place to ensure a more holistic customer experience while maintaining—or even improving—agent productivity. One of the biggest adjustments with the evolution of a blended call center is the realization that two-way communication will become the norm.
Although there are challenges to developing processes and making time and effort to conduct related training, there are many benefits to be found, including offering agents the variety of experiences that can increase their enthusiasm and engagement quality with customers and stave off burnout and attrition.
This being said, executives at financial institutions are having difficulty in reaching a consensus on blending in the call center. Some of the obstacles to be overcome include:
However, bank call centers that are finding success with blending are making some changes in their approach to training, coaching and monitoring, including:
As customer expectations change and more channels are put into play, bank call centers that are prepared to respond in a consistent and seamless fashion—regardless of channel—will find a direct correlation to reaching business objectives. Their call centers will play an integral role in extending customer lifecycles and growing share of wallet with well-orchestrated offers that not only address the context of the customers’ experience, but help them to achieve the end results they desire without undue effort or frustration.