Mar 25 2022

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Rethinking the Financial Services Contact Center

Financial services must evolve their contact center operations to keep pace with customer expectations. Here’s how.

Prior to the pandemic, financial services firms were starting to shift away from brick-and-mortar locations to online options. The pandemic accelerated that timeline. Still, despite a preference for initial digital touchpoints, customers prefer having the option to speak with a human. For example, recent survey data shows that 69 percent of customers still prefer to connect with live agents.

This data also highlights the need for call centers that do more than link customers to agents; clients also want the ability to connect with financial services firms using the channels of their choice and expect companies to respond ASAP.

The result is a need to rethink the financial services contact center to help businesses work smarter, not harder, when it comes to delivering customer satisfaction.

Click the banner below to unlock exclusive cloud content when you register as an Insider.

Financial Services Contact Centers Are Changing

Financial services contact centers now face the dual challenge of harnessing emerging technology and keeping up with evolving talent markets.

From a technology perspective, Forbes notes that financial firms are gearing up for significant spending on artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation to help them better connect with customers and streamline data-heavy tasks. In fact, some forecasts say financial firms will be the second-biggest spenders on AI through 2024, with only retail businesses investing more.

On the talent side, firms must address the challenges that come with the “Great Resignation”: If they can’t offer staffers the ability to work from anywhere with technology that supports robust and reliable contact center connections, employees are more than willing to look for work elsewhere. In the same way that companies must now make customer experience a priority in call center operations, they can’t ignore the need for robust employee experiences that streamline operations, such as funneling calls to the right channels and ensuring staff are equipped with accurate and timely customer data.

READ MORE: Learn how the right hardware can boost employee engagement and talent retention.

Key Components of the New Financial Services Contact Center

In practice, the new financial services contact center needs three key components:

  • Cloud-based operations. While on-premises solutions provide control over call center operations, they lack the agility to deliver on changing customer and employee expectations. As a result, cloud-based solutions are now critical to scale services on-demand and ensure that call center teams can access key functions wherever they choose to work.
  • API integrations. Gone are the days of proprietary solutions that don’t play well with other services. Now, financial firms need call center tools that support robust application programming interface integrations capable of connecting multiple services to create a seamless user experience.
  • AI deployments. As noted above, AI spending from financial firms is on the rise. From a call center perspective, this means investment in solutions such as advanced chatbots capable of quickly directing calls to the right agent for the job, and natural language processing tools with the ability to verify user identity via voice patterns rather than requiring multistep authentication.

LEARN MORE: Find out how technology can assist your contact center in a hybrid work environment.

Connecting the Call Center Dots in Financial Services

As financial services firms made the shift to work-from-anywhere models, it became critical to update three functions: digital meetings, voice calls and call center contacts. Meetings were the first to make the move as companies looked for ways to provide on-demand connections for teams anytime, anywhere.

Voice calls and contact centers naturally followed the trend, often leveraging the same service framework to ensure operational consistency. In practice, this meant making the move from on-premises solutions to cloud-based technologies capable of keeping pace with the need for on-demand resource scaling, application adoption and API integrations.

Cisco contact center solutions — including work-from-home agent solutions and the new Webex Contact Center — make it possible for financial services to create unified platforms that deliver on both customer experience and employee experience expectations.

This starts with flexible cloud migration. The Cisco Collaboration Flex Plan offers on-premises, cloud and mixed options that share a common user experience to help firms migrate at their own pace. Backed by a unified open platform that empowers customized application development and underpinned by AI-powered cognitive agents that improve the customer experience, firms are better positioned to connect with users wherever, however and whenever they prefer.

In addition, Cisco’s approach can help reduce the total cost of making the move to cloud-based contact centers. By minimizing the need for hardware and increasing flexibility across call center functions, companies can build the best-fit call center framework for their operations piece by piece.

Financial call centers must empower fast and flexible connections to keep customers and staff satisfied. Cutting-edge solutions from Cisco can help companies make the most of current resources and set the stage for ongoing API- and AI-driven development.

Equity_logo_sized.jpg

Getty Images/ opolja

aaa 1

Register