4 Predictions About The Future of the Contact Center

With banks’ channel strategies becoming increasingly customer-centric, how is this shaping their call and contact centers? Four experts offer their predictions.
July 12, 2013

Bank call centers have evolved into true customer contact centers, functioning not only to provide information and resolve problems but also to support sales and marketing activities. In today’s multi-channel service environment, the call center remains a critical channel -- along with mobile, online and branches -- for bank and client interactions. But customer expectations for a consistent, interactive and real-time experience across all channels, including the call center, also are rising. What technologies are improving the reach and effectiveness of banks’ contact centers? How do concerns over privacy and security impact banks’ contact center strategies? What contact center functions can be outsourced, and which should be kept in-house? And with more business being transacted on the mobile platform, what will be the role of the future bank call center?

More Focus On Live Chat And Email Support

Call center technology has already evolved in a way that makes the call center operate much more like the other banking channels. Newer solutions integrate with banks’ existing CRM platforms to present a more complete view of the customer relationship. This allows customer service representatives (CSRs) to resolve issues and promote additional banking products more effectively.

Privacy and security, particularly regarding compliance with regulatory requirements, definitely impact call center strategies. CSRs need to be trained, often with scripts, to make sure they are making appropriate disclosures and collecting the necessary customer information for each interaction. Customer authentication will always be a concern and banks will continue to seek out solutions that allow them to confidently identify their customers in a way that also minimizes the effort required of the customer.

Service providers are capable of delivering very strong outsourced call center solutions, which can be very effective for small banks as well as many credit unions. Large institutions need to weigh efficiency benefits with their need for customization. One popular strategy is to use a third-party vendor for after-hours support so a bank can provide customer service on a 24/7/365 basis.

The call center of the future will have a stronger focus on live chat and email support, which could potentially be delivered within a mobile banking application. Inbound phone calls will always be a priority, but banks are having success resolving many of these interactions with automated systems, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. There will also likely be an increased emphasis on cross-selling and up-selling. Banks will rely on call centers for revenue generation, not just customer service.

— Michael Misasi, Senior Analyst, Mercator Advisory Group

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