Bjoern Ekner, Senior Director at Jabra
Digitalization has changed the way businesses operate, and not surprisingly, financial institutions are at the forefront of this revolution. If back in the days, advisors would know the customer personally, including their financial position, today mortgages and loans are issued without any face-to-face contact. This transformation completely changed the nature of the old trusted relationship between customer and financial institutions.
Long gone are the days when people would lose valuable time to meet their advisor in person at their bank’s local high street office. Nowadays, customers want to bank on-demand and complete most of the transactions within a few taps on their mobile screen. This move to the online world, puts the customer in the driver’s seat, as they are typically better informed about the company, and the product and services they offer. These factors have been putting extra pressure on advisors to provide quick, knowledgeable answers every time there is a direct contact with the company.
The other side of the coin
The digital advancements in the financial sector are nothing new. In reality, the transformation has been occurring for some years now. However, many companies are still ignoring or overlooking a crucial piece of the puzzle – the impact these digital tools have on the service they provide to their customers, with conversations growing in complexity.
Professional services consultancy PwC, predicts that a customer-centric business model will become key for banking institutions, as bank executives progressively recognise the significance of this approach. This model requires financial institutions to understand the customer expectations and pain points to act accordingly. The power has irrecoverably switched in favour of the customer and loyalty has to be established by offering a superior customer experience, to avoid a negative impact on the business.
Putting the right strategies in place
Losing customers is something businesses cannot afford, particularly in the financial industry where clients are constantly being bombarded with new and catchier marketing and advertising messages. Therefore, at a time when a customer decides to call an advisor, there needs to be a reassurance that the query is being dealt with in the most effective way.
According to a study from Jabra, 89% of customers will leave for a competitor after a negative customer experience – 55% of those surveyed also revealed that they would change their mind about making a purchase because of poor customer service. These numbers prove that while it was suggested that technology would make calls to financial advisors obsolete, the reality is that today complex interactions are mostly made over the phone.
The issue is that, while conversations are increasingly becoming more strategic and complex than ever, financial advisors working in contact centre environments are more distracted and with less time to prepare and be concentrated during a call. According to a recent study by Jabra, 69% of the interviewed profiles that talked to customers daily over the phone complained that noise and distractions in their workspace had a negative impact on their performance. This will end up in bigger hold times, lengthier searches for information and slower resolution times – something time poor customers cannot afford these days. Yet, distractions in the workplace have been common, financial institutions need to question themselves if they’re organising their customer services in the best possible way. There are some ways of improving productivity amongst advisors:
- Workspace size. The most productive advisors have a larger workspace that will allow them to move around whilst helping their clients.
- Work flow. Music can be a decisive factor for those who need to concentrate when doing complex researches.
- Supportive culture. An office culture that helps eliminating distractions, and increasing job engagement and satisfaction.
- Technology. Wireless headsets can power productivity when compared with corded ones. Increasing mobility allow advisors to reach out for information from specialist colleagues to solve complex issues during a call
To be successful, companies need to invest in providing workers the best environment, culture and tools to help them concentrate so they can deliver first-rate service over the phone. It is crucial that organisations in such a fierce market as banking, acknowledge the importance of coordinating the customer service under the right strategic leadership – investing in the right supportive technology and office changes that eradicate distractions, driving greater productivity.
Retail Banking 2020 – evolution or revolution?, 2014 https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/banking-capital-markets/banking-2020/assets/pwc-retail-banking-2020-evolution-or-revolution.pdf
Jabra Call Centric Study Q3, 2017