The financial services industry has undergone many changes, not only in the past four months but also for the past several years. Consider this, from 2010 to 2019, the number of full-service bank branches fell by 12%, dropping from 95,000 to around 83,000. With fewer people visiting offices now, due to the pandemic, branch closures will likely continue or even accelerate.
The closures do not come as a surprise. It’s more expensive to complete a transaction at a branch than online, and cutting costs is the top priority for many financial institutions. Meanwhile, bank closures have pushed more customers to turn to online banking out of necessity.
With fewer people going into branches, many contact center agents now find themselves in the role of customer tech support — assisting new mobile app users to solve various issues while also handling their typical call load. Many agents remain in a remote-work environment, due to the health crisis, further complicating operations and impacting productivity often negatively when technology, such as an additional monitor, is not available to them at home. The individual agent’s time is becoming more valuable, and therefore more expensive to the contact center.
Due to limited branch access, closures, and other coronavirus concerns, the number of calls at bank contact centers has risen by 15 to 25% since the pandemic started. Increased call volume leads to more extended call handle and hold times, and the potential for customer service disruption.
The new normal for bank contact centers is a significant increase in call volume, which makes decreasing handle times more crucial than ever. So how can you make sure that your contact center’s workforce is optimized?
One immediately actionable step is to implement process automation to directly combat the influx of new calls while maintaining excellent customer service.
1. Process Automation as a Path Forward
Process automation is essentially the use of technology to streamline complex business processes. Process automation within the contact center can be implemented to authenticate callers quickly and accurately, which can significantly reduce AHT and enable better personalization and customer service.
Process automation can replace inefficient, outdated authentication options such as knowledge-based authentication questions (KBAs). Asking callers a series of personal questions (the answers to which fraudsters can easily access) can frustrate both customers and agents, and provides minimal security within a digital landscape of highly sophisticated scam artists.
KBAs cost contact centers money by driving up AHT and reducing agent efficiency. Process automation promises a more sustainable trajectory.
2. Legitimate Callers Quickly and Accurately
KBAs have become inefficient and counterproductive to the growing demands facing bank contact centers. Consider that fraudsters pass KBAs at an alarming rate (20%-40%), while legitimate callers fail to answer KBAs correctly 47% of the time.
The right process automation solution allows you to leverage the latest technology to generate inbound credentials for every caller, and supply the IVR or agent with the data necessary to do their job.
Legitimate callers can be passively authenticated based on voice, device, and behavior. They won’t experience the frustration of having to remember the location of their first job or the color of their first car when they call in about a pressing matter.
For example, Pindrop’s Passport passively authenticates legitimate callers with less hassle and frustration for both customer and agent. Passport provides your customers with a streamlined service experience that will delight and not agitate.
3. Take Control of Hold Times & AHT
Reducing AHT can improve efficiency and slash costs significantly. While some solutions advertise a handle-time reduction by about three seconds, an integrated solution offers far more meaningful savings. Removing a single step out of the CSR workflow ultimately only delays the inevitable need to address new processes more comprehensively.
Consider multi-factor authentication solutions, driven by the latest technologies, that reduce AHT up to 30 to 60 seconds per call, and increase IVR containment by 3 to 5%. This is the kind of game-changing solution that not only helps bank contact centers tackle increased call volume, but contributes to significant cost savings, higher overall productivity, and increased customer satisfaction.
4. Maintain High Levels of Customer Service with Higher Call Volume
Customer service is becoming a key driver for business success. According to Pindrop Labs, some 90% of consumers report that three or fewer “bad experiences” with the contact center will cause them to “churn,” meaning search for or switch to a new provider. Customers have come to expect streamlined service, personalized attention, and more self-service options.
In a crowded marketplace, banks compete on customer service. And as face-to-face interactions at the branch become less frequent, maintaining excellent customer experience falls on the contact center. Banks have an opportunity to empower their customers with the ability to access the information they need quickly and easily, in less time with less frustration.
Automating authentication makes this possible while avoiding the operational and capital expenditures required to purchase and deploy extensive on-premise hardware solutions. Automating authentication can help banks deliver a customer experience that competitors can’t match, with more self-service options, shorter call times, personalized service, and a painless authentication process that runs in the background.
Pindrop’s multi-factor, passive authentication solutions empower both customers and the financial institutions that serve them. The integrated platform increases satisfaction through expedited service, enhanced features, and protection from fraud.
Learn more about how Pindrop can help your contact center provide a superior customer service experience that’s custom-built for the banking world’s new normal.