Fraud customer service matters even more during a recession

As the risk of fraud increases for banking customers, it’s vital that banks reach these customers with timely alerts. Automated texts and emails may suffice in some circumstances, but outbound calls remain as relevant as ever.

A study commissioned by Forrester Consulting last year on behalf of Neustar found that the voice channel was the most important for meeting customer service goals. Of the study participants, 63 percent said voice was critical—almost double that of email, the second-highest ranking channel.

And yet, legacy outbound dialing technologies hamper banks’ ability to reach their customers with important communications.

  • Every year, more than a third of Americans change their name, home address, or phone number, and an estimated 5 to 15 percent of typical CRM records can become out-of-date in a single month. Consumers that own multiple phones with different phone numbers compound this challenge; many households keep a landline that is largely dormant, and yet many CRMs either only have the landline on file or are not sure which number to use when dialing.
  • Some customers are more likely to answer their phones on Saturday mornings, while others are unreachable outside of weekday afternoons. A one-size-fits-all outbound dialing strategy will only get through to the segment of customers that happens to fit the parameter. That could increase the number of interactions needed to address each fraud alert.
  • To deal with the rise in robocalls, many carriers are implementing free call-blocking services and developing applications to combat spam. Unfortunately, these tools often errantly block and spam-tag legitimate calls, too. In many cases, outbound dialers are not aware that their calls are being affected.
  • In the Forrester survey, 64 percent of respondents say “customers are not picking up because they can’t identify who is calling (the “unknown caller” problem).” That’s an untenable position for banks that have an urgent matter to discuss with customers. For customers, a bank’s failed attempt to deliver a fraud alert is tantamount to receiving no fraud alert at all. They may blame their banks for failing to protect them, take their business elsewhere and tell others to do the same on social media.

How to better ensure customer contact

Refresh and deepen customer data. A complete and up-to-date view of consumer data supports scaled outreach with vital information. The key is to consolidate customer records into a single, authoritative source of identity through proactive record management. The faster changes in consumer identifiers are automatically pushed to the CRM, without the latency and errors associated with continuous bulk uploads, the better the opportunity to warn consumers of potential fraud.

Reach out at the best day and time, and to the best number. CRM files normally do not indicate the days and times when individuals are most likely to use their phones. That may force banks to place multiple calls to deliver fraud alerts. Also, a customer’s record may list multiple phone numbers, but not indicate the customer’s primary number. Banks will get important messages to consumers in fewer dials if they have insight into the best time to call and the phone number most likely to be answered.

Mitigate risk of mistrust in calls from unrecognized numbers. To prevent call blocking and spam-mislabeling, outbound calling numbers can be registered as verified across the calling ecosystem of carriers and app providers. Displaying an accurate and consistent caller name (Caller ID) and number for outbound calls ensures that calls are more likely to be trusted and answered.

Surpass consumers’ expectations. The above solutions aren’t easy to develop and maintain in-house. In Forrester’s survey, 67 percent of respondents say that technology vendors are critical or important to solving the challenges described earlier. They expected trusted call solutions to deliver many benefits, including improved answer rates (64 percent) and improved operational efficiencies (50 percent).

Banks can’t control the forces driving the economy, but they can manage the way they call their consumers, especially with timely fraud alerts. Investing in outbound dialing solutions will position banks to contact their consumers at the moments that matter most, in bad times and good.

Adam Russell is vice president of identity and risk solutions at Neustar.

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