Sub-par customer service continues to drive customers away to pursue other financial service providers, with many retail bank customers leaving due to poor service or unmet needs. In fact, a 2012 J.D. Power study recently showed that one in five customers were not happy with their banks.
In response many banks are pulling back on investments in their branch networks to focus resources on other channels. In an increasingly diverse multichannel communications environment, financial service companies are turning to a variety of technologies to enhance their contact centers and provide more personalized service to improve brand loyalty and market share.
Contact centers are beginning to realize just how much information is available to learn what works—and what doesn’t work—for their customers. Banks are inundated with so much data and information that many don’t know how to manage it to their benefit. Yet with all that can be learned from recorded and analyzed client/agent transactions and communications, banks need to take steps to harness this data now.
Across the globe, many of the world’s largest banks have begun deploying sophisticated data analytics capabilities to maintain a competitive advantage. This can lead to an estimated competitive advantage that more than doubles their likelihood of substantially outperforming their industry peers.
Like other industries, financial service providers are now leveraging their contact center communications data to develop deeper customer relationships. But only a few have begun to harvest social media data that can lead to new business opportunities.
Analytical Tools Can Enhance Customer Experience, While Reducing Costs
Thanks to advanced phonetic speech tools, banks can identify key words and phrases in audio recordings and online text. Each day, there are some marketing executives, bank customer service managers, and compliance officers who take on the manual task of combing through thousands of hours of conversations to find key words and phrases. This, combined with the expense of sifting through multi-channel information, could make for a labor- and cost-intensive process.
New analytic tools can monitor a customer’s experience when the customer contacts financial service providers for a variety of problem resolutions. They can also assure that agents are adhering to any required scripts, workflows, and compliance requirements, such as when bank employees need to inform customers that they have a certain amount of time to cancel a new account.
Analytics--which can check for pitch and tone of a customer’s voice to determine the level of pleasure or agitation--are particularly valuable for customer service managers. Analytics are also playing a key role for customer service managers in retaining and gaining new customers, which leads to improved market share and profitability.
For the marketing and sales executive, combing through conversations can help determine customer reaction to a new product offers. Using data analytics tools helped one of the world’s largest mortgage-services companies pinpoint weaknesses that added unnecessary steps in client service workflow, frustrating their customers. By focusing on specific keywords mentioned by more than 30 customers involved with mortgage processes, the bank quickly eliminated the repetitive steps that drove customer complaints, dramatically improving customer satisfaction and turn time, and increasing agent productivity.
Another important reason for using data analytics tools is for serving the compliance officer. With the implementation of Dodd-Frank, and with bank trust ratings at record lows, analytics are imperative to compliance officers who must ensure that every “moment of truth” transaction is clearly explained to each customer.
For example, when loans originate, the compliance department must validate that mortgage consultants clearly quote interest rates. If a mortgage consultant does not discuss both pricing scenarios (to include fees and points) during recorded calls, the loan officer will see a negative impact on financial incentives and internal score cards. From a compliance perspective, having the ability to identify gaps in agent-customer conversations enables financial institutions to help mortgage consultants avoid these issues and further their development.
Mining Facebook Comments and Tweets to Enhance the Brand
Just as important to maintaining a bank’s brand and reputation is the monitoring of online dialogues happening in a 24/7 world. While myriad technologies are now available to help banks monitor social media conversations, including any negative critiques of service quality, most bank contact centers are simply not equipped to process messages streaming across Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and Web sites.
A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research, showed that banks "are struggling to find the magic formula for Twitter." And Accenture recently estimated 90 percent of financial service firms expect to be dedicating funds for social media initiatives by 2012, but 60 percent still consider themselves to be social media novices.
Today, social media management tools enable banks to keep abreast of what their customers and would-be customers are saying. These tools can quickly identify the social media conversations most relevant to their business, enabling banks to gather data on interactions from social media channels, analyze the data using intelligent engines cost effectively, and then react accordingly.
These interactions range from potential sales opportunity comments to general inquiries and complaints. Social media managers can efficiently and automatically process social media interactions, delivering relevant actionable mentions to the appropriate resource for a response. Because online media managers focus on meaningful and actionable interactions, banks can experience improved efficiency and effectiveness of social media responses. Manual monitoring and processing expenses are also reduced.
This in turn can lead to several gains for banks:
• Increased Sales Opportunities: Social media managers can automate monitoring and process social media conversations regarding bank products, services, customers and prospects. This helps strengthen existing relationships, capitalize on new opportunities and reduce missed ones.
• Improved Customer Service: Today’s social media managers can offer contextual intelligence, collect social and internal information for a broader view of the customer, and a clearer understanding of the current situation.
• Time Savings: Manually identifying actionable social media comments can cost considerable time and expense. With automated mining, text analysis, filtering, and routing of social media mentions, banks can promptly identify and focus on more meaningful customer interactions.
Those banks that lag behind on data mining for contact centers and social media will see their brands suffer as a result of sub-par customer service and lost sales opportunities. Banks need to evolve their use of technology to analyze information for real results and adopt new analytics tools.
Kevin Reilley is a client principle at Avaya, a business communications solutions provider.