A call center evolved over the 40 last years and became one of the major touch points in the banking sector. The initial idea was to cumulate a workload which previously was processed in different offices and handle incoming customer inquiries by telephone.
A second strategy was to utilize call centers for outbound calling which enabled reach out customers with marketing campaigns. A call center is a central point where all customer remote contacts are managed over 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers found
out this channel as the most appropriate to solve issues without the necessity of physical presence in the bank's branch. Big volumes and fast acceleration of remote assistance need top-notch technology. Together with omnichannel development, big companies,
which offer call center solutions started competing to achieve the most convenient platform which offers key business features like:
- ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) – assigning inbound calls to the next available agent
- IVR (Intelligent Voice Response) – handling customer inquiries, i.e. account balance, 5 last transactions, without going directly to an agent. At the same incorporating IVR trees to offer a convenient way, where the customers pick the appropriate topic
and are redirected to specialized agents
- SBR (Skill-Based Routing) – assigning inbound calls based on the most suitable agents concerning their expertise and knowledge to answer customer's inquiry
- WFM (Work Force Management) – a system which supports organizing required call center resources within set KPIs as well as forecasting the volumes and schedule agents accordingly
- Outbound dialing – running massive call center campaigns which populate outbound contacts among agents assigned to the certain marketing campaigns
- Call blending – mixing inbound and outbound calls to maximize the productivity and sales efficiency of call center agents
Emerging of the digital banking era has significantly changed the people communicate with the banks. The business impact of the internet and mobile banking channels pushed call center vendors to the next level. "Call center" has become "contact center" thanks
to serving other communication types, like:
- Social Media
The gradual development of contact center technologies has created a niche for other companies to come up with new solutions to face the needs of digital banking. Recently among digital channels development, we can observe the transition from voice to conversational
channels, like text-chats, chatbots, and social media messaging tools. Still, the digital-only customers are concerned to buy banking products online without the possibility to interact with a banking expert. Human-assistance is important to cure high-level
customers' frustration caused by a lack of knowledge or how to finalize online product applications. According to my expertise, at least 30% of these customers have never contacted with traditional contact center channels.
On the other hand, although traditional channels, like calls, emails, and branches, still play a big role in communication with the bank the customers will move forward to such touchpoints, like chat-bots, voice-bots, text-chats, and video banking. The forecast
for the following years is 10% to 20% of customers that will shift from voice to text-chat channel.
The best customer experience requires a fully-fledged digital communication platform that will serve all mentioned above channels supported by AI algorithms. Eventually to become a communication hub for the banks. This gap enabled many start-ups and companies
to emerge with new solutions, which anticipate the market. In particular conversational channels, like text-chats, chat-bots, and voice-bots, have changed the way the customers communicate with the banks.
We’re facing two trends:
- We’ve got companies that leveraged on digital channels development and used this technological space wisely to come up with new communication channels i.e. chat-bots, voice-bots, text-chat, social media messaging tools audio and video supported by collaborative
tools (screen-sharing, co-browsing, document sharing)
- On the other contact center platform providers with strong, established positions, gradually co-opting these new communication channels to existing voice channel
It’s exciting to observe and experience the shaping of an omnichannel communication strategy. Please feel free to comment below: who is going to win the technological race among communication platform providers? I would be grateful if you share your insights.