Focusing on improving profitability and competitive positioning is critical in financial services in response to dynamic market and regulatory conditions. With emphasis on these two key areas, contact centers play a vital role in ensuring the customer experience lends itself to helping recoup both mind-share and wallet-share.
However, financial services call centers will need to overcome four challenges with flexibility and agility to accomplish these goals:
According to the recent Accenture research report, A Critical Balancing Act: Retail Banking in the Digital Era, 35 percent of banks’ market shares in North America could be up for grabs by 2020 as traditional branch banking competes more intensely with new digital players. This change of power in the financial services industry is primarily due to new digital technologies such as mobile, chat and social and the ever-increasing changes in customer preferences.
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And with all of these changes come increased customer support across multiple channels.
Today’s financial organizations can view multichannel banking as a threat or opportunity. Balancing agent resources across channels allows organizations to quickly leverage associates with the right skills to positively impact the customer experience in the consumer’s channel of choice. For example, associates with competencies in chat and social can shift across channels in response to customer demand. The result is improved performance, increased operational efficiencies and a better customer experience.
Compliance and regulatory issues
As if managing a contact center was not complex enough, the volume and rapidity of new and expected regulations increase the stakes. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and other agencies have issued rules to enforce new laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act.
These rules have already caused an increased regulatory burden throughout the financial services industry – and the contact center is struggling to keep its operations up to speed as new issues arise. Privacy, data integrity and consumer protection all contribute to the added pressures in call centers..
Real-time response to these changes has become more important than ever. By dynamically responding to these market conditions to keep agents up to speed, contact centers can improve customer satisfaction while meeting compliance regulations.
However, finding technology capable of responding quickly and efficiently continues to be a challenge. Associates need both alerts and re-certification for ever-changing regulations to ensure their respective organizations maintain compliance.
Faster time to market
With new regulations squeezing profit-making opportunities, the ability to launch new products and services to customers is more important than ever. Much of the cross-sell and up-sell opportunities fall on the contact center as one of the primary touch points to customers. And in order to make certain any new offerings are successful, contact centers must find more time to train agents on new promotions with the speed that the business requires – a tall order in the contact center.
Immediately updating agent skill associations based on training and performance allows re-skilled agents to handle new inquiries right away and improve the customer experience, improving profitability and competitive positioning as a result.
Customer experience balanced with expense management
Revenue pressures and increased regulations have caused the financial services industry to reexamine its expenses, but research shows that customer experience is a powerful loyalty driver and can’t be short-changed.
Financial institutions worldwide are consolidating front- and back-office functions to streamline processes. Moreover, larger institutions are merging organizational divisions including retail, credit cards, various loans and checking and savings programs. However, the challenge lies in successfully creating a consistent customer experience.
Scheduling associates to spend time away from their primary responsibilities to learn other functions of the business or get up to speed on new products, services or regulations is inefficient and requires management to actually pay more in compensation. Also, manually scheduling secondary work is not only difficult, but time consuming. Financial services organizations will need to take better advantage of agent downtime to increase productivity without sacrificing service levels.
It no longer makes sense to rely on outdated manual processes to ensure appropriately skilled contact center agents can quickly respond to customer inquiries through all available channels. Financial institutions can be better equipped to provide the best customer experience by leveraging technologies that replace manual processes to create a real-time workforce for meeting the industry’s challenges head-on.