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The contact center solutions guide for financial services

Apr 1, 2024 | Admin, Financial Services, Latest News, Service Cloud

You had me at “hello.”

The power of first impressions can’t be overstated. So, welcoming a customer down the path of long-term brand loyalty with a meaningful greeting or a quick and friendly resolution isn’t a term of endearment–it’s a means to survival. 

Almost everybody (97 percent, officially) says customer service is essential for brand loyalty. According to research on contact centers, 87 percent of companies report an increase in phone conversion rates in one year. 

The way customers are greeted and assisted during their first contact with the bank’s contact center, whether through online support, a live agent, or self-service support, shapes their perception of the institution.  

From immediate access to a live agent, virtual assistants guiding users through transactions, and predictive analytics tailoring recommendations, adopting a customer-centric service model based on AI technology and automation is helping the financial services industry capitalize on stronger, more dynamic connections with its customers. 

Let’s list some of the most common customer service challenges banks face and how AI technology provides solutions. 


Challenge: High Call Volumes

Recent statistics show the average call center handles 4,400 calls monthly, with 48 missed calls. When a phone call is the only channel, the pressure to provide a timely resolution is enormous. 

Recent customer surveys found that two-thirds of consumers will wait on hold for two minutes or less before disconnecting, and 13 percent said that there’s no amount of time they’d be okay with waiting on hold.


Solutions: Chatbots and Automated Call Routing

“When you automate processes in your contact center, your agents can work more efficiently and provide better support for customers with more complex issues,” said Zoe Sitrin, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Salesforce. “Instead of being frustrated by inefficient service, your customers will get answers faster — and they’ll be more inclined to stay loyal to your business.” 

  • Generative AI-powered Chatbots can handle routine customer inquiries, such as balance inquiries, transaction history, or FAQs. These bots can provide 24/7 support, reducing the workload on human agents and improving response times.
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) efficiently handles data entry, information sourcing, and other time-consuming tasks, freeing up live agents to handle more complex customer issues. This bot can intelligently process documents or take action on someone’s behalf.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR). Built on Natural Language Processing technology, this bot enables systems to understand and interpret human language. It allows more sophisticated chatbots to engage in natural conversations, leading to better customer experiences.
  • Automated voice recognition systems can also handle customer calls, identify the purpose of the call, and route it to the appropriate department or provide automated assistance, reducing the need for human intervention in basic queries.


Challenge: Heightened Customer Expectations 

Customers expect contact center agents to be knowledgeable, courteous, and empathetic, able to address their concerns promptly and effectively. A study found that 71 percent of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76 percent get frustrated when it doesn’t happen.

With the abundance of choices available to them, customers quickly switch to competitors if their expectations for quality service are unmet. While 58 percent of US customers are happy to pay more to support a brand if it can provide a better customer experience, 78 percent of shoppers have backed out on an intended purchase because of a negative experience. 

Therefore, banking contact centers must channel their inner “Mary Poppins” and deliver a “practically perfect” performance that exceeds these heightened expectations by leveraging technology and prioritizing customer satisfaction at every touchpoint. 


Solutions: Instant Gratification Through Automated Self-Service Support

  • AI-Generated Knowledge Bases create, organize, and deliver self-service content that is accessible when they want it–no live agent required. 
  • Omnichannel Routing tracks and routes questions from email, SMS, and social media to the right agent for quick first-contact resolution based on skill set, availability, and capacity.
  • Workflows can handle tasks, such as sending emails, account status updates, etc., in one click. 


Challenge: Protecting Customers From Fraud

Experts warn of an uptick in fraud, with some research finding 60 percent of banking industry respondents indicating that most account takeovers start in the call center. 

“Through the use of tactics, such as spoofed phone numbers and social engineering, combined with personal information obtained from identity theft scams and data breaches, fraudsters have become more focused on call centers as a target to access and take over accounts,” said Lance Hood, senior director of omnichannel authentication at TransUnion. “More than ever, it’s critically important for call centers to find effective and efficient ways to separate legitimate callers from potentially fraudulent, high-risk ones in a way that reduces friction for the consumer.”


Solutions: AI-Supported Data in a Central Location

Legacy systems simply can’t reduce these risks. A modern AI-supported system that gathers real-time data in a central location can analyze vast amounts of transaction data in real time to detect unusual patterns or suspicious activities, helping to prevent fraud and enhance security.


Challenge: The Internal Customer Experience: Employee Training and Turnover Rates

High turnover rates in the industry can make it challenging to maintain a knowledgeable and experienced workforce. SQM agent engagement research found only 27 percent of agents are highly engaged, 10 percent are engaged, 57 percent are indifferent to working in the call center, and 5 percent are highly disengaged.

However, some studies show that a mere 1 percent reduction in agent turnover can save organizations with 30,000 employees $32.9 million annually, making customer agent attrition an important KPI to track.   


Solutions: Real-time Performance and Workflow Data

For managers, AI-driven analytics can help identify patterns in employee behavior and performance, enabling proactive interventions such as personalized training and support to address potential issues before they escalate. 

AI can also facilitate more efficient workflows and resource allocation, ensuring that agents are appropriately utilized and not overwhelmed by excessive workloads. 

Each interaction with a customer, whether initiated through online support, a live agent, or self-service channels, is a crucial opportunity to solidify the foundation of long-term brand loyalty. 

By prioritizing meaningful greetings, efficient resolutions, and personalized assistance, banks can shape positive perceptions of their institution and cultivate lasting relationships with customers. 

Let our Advisory and OCM teams offer industry-based expertise on how your organization can leverage your contact center as an essential part of your customer experience. 

With nearly all consumers recognizing the importance of customer service in brand loyalty and a significant increase in phone conversion rates reported by companies investing in contact centers, it’s evident that the power of first impressions extends far beyond mere courtesy—it’s a cornerstone of sustained success in the banking industry.



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