Financial institutions are tops when it comes to their call centers, claims a study from Genesys Labs, a provider of contact center solutions. Genesys polled call center managers and technical support personnel at 82 financial services companies, including banking institutions from around the world, credit unions, investment management funds and realty lending firms for its Contact Center Realities Study. The survey concluded that financial services is among the leading industries in terms of effective contact center use.
Dan Nordale, managing director, retail banking solutions at Genesys Labs, tells BS&T that this study underscores the fact that the broad financial services institutions, such as retail banks, correctly place a high value on effective customer service. "Providing effective service earns financial services institutions the right to fulfill a greater share of their customers' financial needs in the future," Nordale says.
He also sees a growing movement of using the call center as a sales center. "Particularly important is the increasing role of contact centers in the sales process. Financial services companies recognize that the majority of the conversations they are having with customers are occurring online and in the contact center," Nordale explains. "Building customer loyalty and engaging customers to meet their needs retains loyalty."
Nordale was not at all surprised by the performance of FIs in the survey and says it served to confirm what Genesys sees when dealing with its clients. Furthermore, he says FIs tend to use technology more rigorously in their call centers than other industries. For instance, he notes there are three areas in particular in which financial services firms lead other industries on the call center side: self service, matching of agent to customer; and integration of Web and contact center.
Companies were rated on the Genesys Contact Center Capabilities Maturity Model. The model consists of four phases: Establishment, Consolidation, Performing and Dynamic. Based on the study results, financial services companies tend to fall into the "Performing" phase, where focus shifts from reducing contact center costs to improving interaction quality.
Other key findings from the survey include: Seventy person of participating FIs measure customer satisfaction specifically with the contact center; Skills-based routing is currently used in the FS sector by over 80 percent of the respondents; Seventy-eight percent expect to increase their staff levels, and 49 percent plan to spend more in technology investment than they did in 2006.
Of course there is room for improvement. Nordale believes FIs will, therefore, continue to find ways to do away with their silos and create a more integrated customer service experience. "The advanced financial organizations view all customer touch points, whether it is the phone, Web, e-mail, as one and not as different silos, like other industries generally tend to do. As they continue to work on delivering value to the customer across the various channels, they are continually working to stitch the channels together for a seamless experience. While they are doing well at that, they are always looking at ways they can improve," he comments. "Delivering a coordinated customer experience that includes Web, phone and branch channels translates to increased customer loyalty and dramatically improved sales performance."