COVID-19 has disrupted the way financial institutions previously operated. Due to health concerns surrounding the global pandemic, brick-and-mortar branches were forced to close their doors, leaving many financial institutions struggling to remain operational.
However, within this adversity lies an opportunity for banks to revamp their call centers and retain customers with an enhanced banking experience. According to Biztech Magazine, 65% of consumers ranked phone calls as their preferred method of communication when banking, further proving that the contact center is a vital part of a financial institution’s operations. Let’s dive into understanding some technologies that banks can leverage to maximize call center efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
Allowing agents to work from home
Even though the pandemic may subside soon, it is predicted that many businesses will continue their operations remotely. This transition calls for the need to incorporate technologies that allow agents to work from home successfully.
To continue their operations, agents need access to secure, portable devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Additionally, banks should invest in communication tools like email, video conference, and instant messaging that enable agents to collaborate and connect with clients regardless of location. The utilization of technology will empower work-from-home agents to be fully productive, ensuring that operations continue to run smoothly.
Switching to the cloud
Due to the seismic shift in operations, many financial institutions have switched from on-premise solutions to cloud computing contact centers. Banks can quickly scale their contact center with a cloud-based system and better manage the surge in calls.
Additionally, cloud-based systems keep fixed costs low and shift expenses to variable costs. While many financial institutions are still recovering from financial stress caused by the impacts of COVID-19, it is vital to consider expenses and scalability when choosing a system for your call center. Cloud-based systems have proven to be the best option to shift a call center’s operations from an expense to an adequate return on investment.
Monitoring and training agents
In the past, financial institutions have utilized Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure their contact center’s performance. While metrics still heavily drive contact center operations, several KPIs may no longer give a clear picture of a contact center’s health. As KPIs continue to become less accurate, banks should utilize workforce optimization capabilities such as analytics and quality assurance to determine agent performance. These tools allow supervisors to monitor their agents’ performance remotely and provide insights into how much time is spent managing the desktop agent.
A financial institution is only as good as its employees, which is why agents need to be properly trained to understand the shift in operations. Management should establish virtual training to educate their employees on the use of new technologies, processes, and policies. This will guarantee that agents are knowledgeable and productivity levels will remain the same as pre-pandemic operations.
Utilizing Artificial Intelligence to increase internal efficiency
Currently, banks spend between $8 and $10 per contact in the call center. With queues in the contact center rising, these costs will only continue to grow. Instead of investing time and money to hire and train new employees, banks should implement Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions, such as Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA), into their operations. IVAs can serve as the front line of a bank’s existing call center, providing around-the-clock support to customers.
An IVA automates calls in the contact center, allowing bank tellers to spend more time helping customers complete more complex banking tasks. Additionally, AI technology understands questions at a 95% accuracy rate from day one, empowering customers to serve themselves without diminishing the quality of support provided by the bank. The new and improved virtual assistants have the capability to make personalized recommendations based on customers’ needs, increasing the likelihood of cross-selling and upselling products also.
Acknowledging the new normal
The pandemic taught many financial institutions to expect the unexpected. As a result, banks are taking the steps necessary to future-proof their systems and technologies to remain operational regardless of the situation at hand. Investing in such solutions will also increase operational efficiencies and provide customers with an enhanced banking experience.
Srinivas Njay is the founder and CEO of interface.ai. interface.ai's Intelligent Virtual Assistants currently power several financial institutions across the world.