With banking customers able to access their account 24x7 and perform transactions from virtually any global location, voice messages from outsourced call center agents no longer meet the needs of banking customers concerned about suspicious activity in their account. According to an Adeptra survey of 200 U.S. account holders, the vast majority of respondents want banks to notify them within one hour of suspicious activity, and most want an automated text message rather than a voice call from an outsourced call center agent.
"Banks are searching for ways to connect with their customers in real-time and across multiple channels," said Bill Brown, director of Global Product Strategy for Adeptra. "With technology constantly evolving and consumers more wired in than ever, banks can take advantage of better communication methods to reach consumers - not only in urgent situations, but, more importantly, to engage them in two-way, real-time dialogues that bring real value to the partnership. This can change the way banks communicate with consumers, and the types of messages they can communicate."
Some of the most forward-thinking financial institutions have started to look beyond conventional uses for automated call center technology, noted Brown. "Banks are realizing the true value of communicating with their customers - not just at them. No matter how you look at it, automating communication methods puts the consumer first."
Conducted in August 2010, Adeptra's survey of consumers' communication preferences with their banks and their perception of automated and outsourced communication channels found that 36% of respondents currently receive communications from their banks via real-time channels, including calls and SMS cell phone text messages. In a reflection of the increasing mobility of the customer base, the survey found that 69% of respondents would like their bank to provide real-time communication channels. For urgent account updates, an overwhelming 86% of respondents said they would accept immediate notification via automated systems. These results show that banks are facing a growing challenge by the day to find effective ways to communicate urgent account updates to customers, beyond live agents.
"The results of this survey plainly show that consumers are embracing communication from automated systems. In fact, we can see that they've begun voicing a preference for automation - especially in situations where more urgent communication may be necessary," said Brown. "We found that 86% of the respondents wanted a communication within an hour of any event that the bank recognizes as carrying potential risk. In the current consumer banking environment, only 37% of the consumers actually see this level of service. With consumers demanding immediate responses from their banks, automation technology makes this form of communications an efficient and economical reality for even the largest call centers."