Does your contact center measure up?

A relentless focus on customer satisfaction and delight can help you stand out from the competition.

As digitalization and demand for self-service options continue to ramp up, it’s more important than ever to maximize those increasingly rare moments when we as bankers interact personally with customers.

For this reason, there has been renewed focus on and investment in the contact center. The contact center offers a balance between convenience and service with the personal touch that people crave.

Historically, contact center performance was measured only in terms of efficiency: average handle time, calls per hour and so on. While it’s still important to track efficiency in the marketplace, customer experience has become a critical indicator of success. This shift from call volume to call value makes sense—satisfied account holders are loyal, and they help build your reputation and grow your business.

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Commoditization due to the increasingly transactional and automated nature of banking poses a threat to competitive differentiation. For this reason, the contact center has become more than just a place for your account holders to call when they have issues or questions. It has become a critical element of your financial institution’s success.

Managed properly, with a strong focus on customer satisfaction and even customer delight, the contact center experience can become your differentiator, helping you to stand out from the competition, bring in new accounts and increase wallet share.

How does a financial institution measure contact center performance?

When it comes to demonstrating return on investment, financial institutions should measure four core metrics to safeguard the benefits of account holder loyalty.

Customer satisfaction is more than a number

The contact center has shifted to the forefront of customer service strategy, providing both necessary services and emotional support for customers. While financial institutions still rely on customer satisfaction surveys and net promoter scores, a new level of measurement has come into play—the contact center agent’s level of care and concern for the customer.

While you should still measure call resolution, satisfaction with service and the like, consider the power of the open-ended question “How did the agent make you feel?” Customers use the phone when they want personalized answers to their problems.

Be sure to work closely with your contact center supplier on reporting to determine how the survey will be conducted and reported

Contact center efficiency

Measuring key performance indicators is particularly important when it comes to ensuring efficiency. Typical KPIs in this context include:

  • First-call resolution
  • Average wait time
  • Average handle time, or time the contact center agent spends on the phone
  • Attrition rates of contact center agents

It’s up to you and your internal stakeholders to determine which KPIs truly matter and are instrumental in ensuring your contact center’s success. Just be careful not to get too focused on efficiency at the expense of customer satisfaction.

Quality of calls

Call quality is different from customer satisfaction, though they are closely related. If call quality is high, then customer satisfaction will be as well.

Call quality includes making sure that contact center agents are not only answering calls but also answering them well. Ways to measure the value these reps provide include:

  • Reporting on first-call resolution
  • Reporting on call abandonment
  • Average speed of answer
  • Customer engagement

Digital transformations still need human connections

Customers expect and want instant access to their accounts to manage their finances. Although technology and innovation continually transform how customers transact, interact and engage, the need and desire for human connection remain strong. It may seem counterintuitive, but as transactional and service-based technology adoption increases, so does the desire for human interaction when it comes to troubleshooting and more extensive servicing needs.

While communication tools like chatbots and AI-based phone systems are great, they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for personal connections. Your contact center should be well-prepared to back up your tech in case it doesn’t answer customers’ questions or fulfill their requests. This could mean bypassing automation completely if that’s what your customers want. If you only provide automated services, you run the risk that customers will have negative service experiences, which, as word spreads, will erode your reputation and customer base.

Measuring return on investment has an added benefit of keeping contact center partners accountable to their objectives and aligned with business goals. Having clear targets not only motivates representatives to offer the best service possible but also makes sure your customers experience the best your brand has to offer.

Shifting your mindset from call volume to call value—solving account holders’ problems and helping them reach their goals—can dramatically increase customer satisfaction levels. Account holders want to feel that their questions are being answered accurately and thoroughly. And if the contact center representative understands what the account holder needs to know and can bring insight into how to make the experience better, then the account holder will feel known and understood.

The more you know about creating and increasing account holder satisfaction and call value, the better chance you’ll have of standing out from the crowd and seeing positive results.

Terri Panhans is VP, contact center solutions, at Vericast.

Find valuable insights for banks and credit unions as they adapt their customer-service strategy across ever-evolving channels in the BAI Executive Report, “Changing priorities in bank customer service”