New research from Aspect has found that consumers get most frustrated with their banks and insurance providers when communicating with them through the contact centre, affecting cross-selling and upselling opportunities and resulting in loss of customers.
Aspect's latest study asked a sample of UK consumers about their attitudes towards their banks and insurance providers. When asked how satisfied they were with the customer service received, specifically from the contact centre, 48 per cent claimed to be dissatisfied. Worryingly for organisations, two thirds (66 per cent) of consumers considered moving to another insurance provider in the last 12 months, and over four in ten (43 per cent) considered changing banks. Of these, nearly half (42 per cent) actually did move to another insurer, but only 8 per cent moved their accounts to another bank,
The research also found that a third of people in the UK are unhappy with the customer service they receive as a whole from their banks and insurance providers.
"Cross-selling and upselling to existing customers is a critical revenue stream for banks and insurers but our research demonstrates that these institutions are losing a high percentage of accounts and policies every year," comments Peter Nicol, VP, Northern Europe, Aspect. "A proportion of consumers are clearly getting frustrated with their financial services providers due to the quality of service they receive through the contact centre."
When the respondents were asked what bothers them the most with their insurance providers' customer service, 'call centre staff unable to perform necessary transactions,' 'do not return calls' and 'takes too long to answer the phone' all came out on top - all issues which stem from, and can be resolved in the contact centre.
Consumers' expectations for both their banks and their insurance providers is a high level of customer service, with a third (33 per cent) stating this factor above the range of products, security and varied channels of communication. The standard of customer service is also the highest influencing factor (28 per cent) for consumers when choosing a bank. Perhaps interestingly, this differs with insurance providers, where 46 per cent regard product specifications as the most important influencing factor when choosing a provider.
"These issues stem from inefficiencies in support systems and simple integration of more effective technologies, processes and training - all contributing to a better customer experience. Contact centre agents must be equipped with these tools in order to service customers well, and whilst many financial services providers have embraced these measures, there are clearly further improvements for some to be made" concluded Nicol.
Other key findings:
• Consumers' biggest bugbear with their banks is that security and authentication systems are too complicated or inconsistent, with 18 per cent stating this as an irritation
• Instant messaging (IM)/chat, SMS and social media are not considered by consumers to be main methods of communication yet, however 6 per cent of consumers expect to be able to connect with financial services providers through IM/chat, 7 per cent through SMS and 4 per cent through social media
• Consumers' main method in which to connect with their bank is through online banking apps, with 77 per cent stating they use this method
• Consumers' main method in which to connect with their insurance provider is via the telephone, with 45 per cent stating they use this method
• The most popular customer service improvement with banks is the introduction of a secure mobile app, with 18 per cent stating this improvement
• The most popular customer service improvement with insurance providers is the ability to sign documents digitally, with 20 per cent stating this improvement
• Consumers seek financial advice from specialist websites and online most frequently, rather than consulting an independent financial advisor or family/friends.