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Banks Europe Thought Leadership

Odigo: Banks, You Can’t Afford to Ignore Contact Centre Agents Anymore

With the talent war raging on, banks need to step up to attract and retain the best contact centre agents. If they don’t, they risk falling behind competitors who can provide increasingly anxious customers with quality customer experience (CX).

The financial services have not escaped the impact of the ‘Great Resignation’ – with 56 per cent of those in the sector saying preventing people from quitting their jobs is one of their top three workforce priorities this year, according to PwC and CBI research.

Andy Watts, senior account director at Odigo, the Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions provider,  explains how AI-powered tech that provides a single source of truth about a customer, enabling agents to become a part of an omnichannel strategy, redeployed to do value-driven tasks like upselling and cross-selling new and existing products and services:

Andy Watts, senior account director at Odigo
Andy Watts, senior account director at Odigo

The ‘Great Resignation’ has touched every industry, including financial services. Over half (56 per cent) of those in the sector say preventing people from quitting their jobs is one of their top three workforce priorities this year.

But while the majority of focus in banking has been on retaining analysts and graduates, contact centre workers have been somewhat overlooked. With some financial organisations offering greater flexibility in hybrid working, the industry has seen a staggering 40-50 per cent agent churn rate.

With very complex products, especially in the B2B space, it is increasingly difficult and expensive to recruit the right talent into financial services contact centres. Yet, combined with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and resulting influx of anxious customers looking for support and guidance, banks and financial service providers need to act now to protect and support their agents.

Banks can’t risk ignoring contact centre workers

Financial institutions’ contact centres have always been a core touch point for customers to access various types of support – from queries to complaints to fraud advice. Although their role today hasn’t necessarily changed, the value organisations and customers place on them certainly has. In recent months we’ve seen the focus shifting from fitting customers around business processes to reshaping contact centres around customers’ needs.

Agents are a fundamental part of any successful contact centre. But there’s a real need for banks to put even greater focus on attracting and retaining the best contact centre agents in today’s digitised environment. Those who don’t risk falling behind competitors who can enable their agents to provide increasingly anxious customers with a quality customer experience and the advice they need.

This requires a strong infrastructure and technology foundation. One that can empower agents to capture customer pain points, understand their context and orchestrate the best, most optimal route across any channel. All to deliver fast, impactful, and personalised services that convert prospects into long-lasting advocates.

Automation boosts agent productivity

Until recently, there have been virtually no front-door filters between customers and agents. However, effective self-service – which has only just started to become a reality – gives agents the time and headspace to deal with more complex cases themselves.

This is where automation comes in. As data-based insights and capabilities become the norm, organisations have the opportunity to identify simpler customer queries through AI. They can then direct customers to self-service areas, virtual assistants, and AI-powered services. Elsewhere within the customer journey, companies can harness the power of customer data to mechanise digital form filling, automate proactive product notifications, and supercharge loyalty programmes and re-engagement.

Bots can also enhance service touchpoints within a customer journey. Automatically retrieving customer data from various enterprise systems, this technology can enable agents to deliver a personalised service that offers real-time answers to bank customers’ specific queries and concerns.

Retaining top agent talent

Agent experience (AX) has recently been elevated to the same level as customer experience (CX). Historical, and recent, bad press and publicity on burnout and turnover across all industries is a real concern, and contact centres are not immune. However, the contact centre industry is full of passionate and motivated individuals.

Successful contact centres put a lot of focus on human-centric values, empathy, and wellbeing, as well as ensuring agents are equipped with empowering tools. It’s no secret that the best technology keeps the best talent. Banking is a fast-paced world, and today’s agent demographic is typically ‘gen now’ – they expect the same consumer technology experience in their work life as they do at home; personalised, agile and simple to use.

Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions can bring up-to-date technology to bank contact centres that benefit working processes and workforce management across sites, teams and hybrid working models. CCaaS solutions can’t put people in the same room, but through mature voice technology and omnichannel tools, it can bridge the gap to create flowing conversations between teams and customers.

No industry can afford to ignore contact centre agents, and this is especially so in financial organisations which handle people’s income and monetary assets. The entire customer experience process must be as stress-free as possible. As the industry evolves throughout the 21st century, AI will take on a more significant role in agent operations to enhance performance, allowing for the completion of more complex queries which require the human touch.

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