Banks Make Greater Use of Chatbots
Increasing call center volumes create a paradox: Clients want direct engagement but have limited patience for waiting. Recent data suggests that 50 percent of customers will hang up after 45 to 95 seconds of being on hold.
Here, chatbots provide a way to bridge the gap and deliver instant, introductory interaction that keeps customers on the line. Survey data shows that 99 percent of consumers have interacted with chatbots and 65 percent are satisfied enough with the experience that they’d prefer to deal with chatbots immediately rather than wait for service agents.
For financial institutions, chatbots in contact centers can help sort and streamline calls by responding to simple customer questions. Bots can identify what clients are looking for — from specific advice about banking or investments to more general questions about bank products and services. This immediate engagement is often enough to satisfy consumers with straightforward queries and provides a curated queue of clients who require agent escalation.
Banks Are Using AI to Redefine Agent Roles
Call center agents provide critical customer engagement by helping callers deal with specific — and often complex — financial issues. The challenge? More than 50 percent of customers say they need to re-explain issues to agents after using self-service solutions such as chatbots or voice recognition, increasing both call resolution time and caller frustration.
As noted by E-3 Magazine, evolving artificial intelligence solutions offer a way to improve agent efficiency by using machine learning algorithms to predict customer needs and supply agents with relevant information.
For example, AI could be used to listen in on chatbot conversations. Using natural language processing and sentiment recognition tools, AI agents estimate the likely emotional state of callers and assign human help accordingly. If clients are frustrated or angry, they’re matched with well-trained customer retention specialists who can help diffuse difficult situations.
AI tools can also pull relevant data from customer relationship management tools and customer databases to equip agents with both immediate call data and historic service interactions. This eliminates the need for customers to re-explain their issues and allows agents to deliver prioritized, personalized service immediately.
The Contact Center Should Be Relocated
Outsourced call center investments have rapidly increased as banks look to handle rising call volumes, but this distributed geographic approach can have negative effects on customer engagement. As noted by Forbes, many now recognize “the link between customer service and profit” and are making the shift to hiring local, well-trained call center personnel.
Historically, the biggest challenge to this approach has been cost; personnel and infrastructure were often cheaper outside the United States. Advancements in technologies such as cloud computing and unified collaboration, however, have created a viable market for virtual contact centers. Staffers work remotely from home or in smaller offices with secure access to financial networks and customer histories, allowing them to provide local, on-demand service.
Without the overhead of a traditional contact center, virtual options can help financial firms reduce total spend while also boosting agent productivity: Studies have shown that remote workers are happier, more productive and less likely to miss work. The result? Increased customer engagement that combines digital channels with local connection.
Financial firms must evolve to deliver authentic engagement over digital channels. New solutions such as chatbots, AI and virtual contact center staffing can drive enhanced interaction and deliver sustainable ROI.