By Kelly Wilson - Sep 19, 2018

Help Enhance Traditional Channels by Digitizing your Contact Center

It’s no longer a matter of “if” banks will become fully digital, but “when”.  But the prospect of a digital transformation in the financial services industry does not necessarily mean the end of all traditional customer experience channels, like call centers. In fact, using technology to improve the communications channels that are already in use and familiar to your customers is a great way to ease both your client base and your staff into the future of banking technology.

As the first touchpoint for many appointment-driven businesses, 75% of organizations view the customer service provided in contact centers to be a key differentiator between competitors. Is your organization’s contact center providing your customer with a positive experience?

According to a study done by Cornell University, the financial services market tends to leverage larger call center operations compared to other industries and is lagging behind in implementing call center management software.  While many banks and credit unions depend on call centers as a channel for booking appointments with customers, many have little to no visibility into call handling process efficiency. Unfortunately, this sluggishness to modernize the back-end is resulting in customers waiting, and waiting on the line as call centre agents try to assist them while navigating archaic processes on the other end of the line.

As you look for ways to transform your contact center, it is important to highlight areas that could be made more efficient by implementing digital tools. For example, lengthy call handle time, poor customer experience and high operational costs are all issues that likely plague your contact center and affect your organization as a whole. Enterprise appointment scheduling is one type of call center technology that can help improve call efficiencies, reduce operational costs and improve the customer experience. Here’s how.

 

Why digitize your contact center with appointment scheduling?

Decrease call handle time

The number of calls that contact center representatives can accommodate in a day is a key success metric that impacts many other areas of the business. For appointment-driven financial services organizations, more completed phone calls equal more appointments and more revenue for your branch locations. And yet, 23% of companies still do not measure call handle time in their contact center.  Long call handle times lead to long hold times for customers waiting in the queue, and 80% of customers drop off the line after being placed on hold for over 1 minute.

One of the ways you can make significant inroads in increasing call handling efficiency is by implementing an enterprise appointment scheduling solution. Implementing a scheduling solution creates a more streamlined appointment booking process that allows your call center representatives to accommodate more calls in a day.  This can also contribute to improving the customer experience by reducing the amount of time customers have to spend on the line with your organization, just to book an in-person appointment. Additionally, by speeding up the appointment booking process you can book more appointments, driving more revenue to your organization’s branch locations.

 

Improve customer experience

57% of companies can relate improving customer experience levels to revenue growth.  For appointment-driven businesses, the call center is the first point of contact between your organization and its customers, and so it absolutely must deliver a positive first impression.

If you are an appointment-driven business and your contact center books the majority of your appointments, it is crucial that the customer information collected at the time that the appointment is booked is passed on to the advisor meeting with that customer.  There is nothing more frustrating for a customer, that already had to go through the tumultuous process of booking an appointment, to show up to an advisor that has no insight into their needs. However, 54% of customer information collected at the time the appointment was booked is not relayed to the customer-facing advisor.

An enterprise appointment scheduling solution can be integrated across all channels in your organization and allows for information that is collected from one customer-facing channel, to be stored on one platform that can be accessed by another customer-facing channel. This means that your organization can capture additional information at the time of the appointment booking by adding custom questions integrated into the booking process.  The answers to these custom questions can then be accessed by the customer-facing advisor, enabling them to better prepare for their upcoming appointment with the particular customer and tailor the appointment to their needs.

An additional benefit to implementing a scheduling solution into your organization’s contact center is that it allows you to add new touchpoints to the customer journey that will reduce the appointment no-show rate, as well as make your customers feel valued.  Your customers will be sent a confirmation email reminding them of the service, date and time of the appointment they just booked as well as any additional information they need in order to be prepared for their upcoming appointment. Additionally, SMS and email reminders can be sent out to customers reminding them of their upcoming appointment, reducing the chances of a no-show. Customers will appreciate these additional touchpoints as we live in a busy world and it is easy to forget the commitments that they have made, and it makes them feel looked after and that their scheduled appointment is valued.

By integrating your contact center channel into other customer-facing platforms in your company you can drive more revenue into the organization and provide customers with a premium experience.

Decrease workforce costs

Forrester recently reported that call volume is expected to increase over the next 12 months and 46% of global contact center decision makers project their contact centers to grow by 5% to 10% to accommodate the increase.  Many organizations are pouring more of their resources into increasing rep headcount in their contact centers to manage the call volume, but this is not a sustainable solution.

Implementing an integrated scheduling solution that allows you to serve your customers more efficiently by speeding up the appointment booking process in your call center.  And, by speeding up the booking process, you’ll be able to accommodate the heavier call volumes without having to hire more representatives.

Another cost that comes with a complex contact center appointment booking system is the lengthy onboarding process. According to the same Cornell University study, the financial services industry has the longest call center representative onboarding period, which is about 6 weeks. And, 37% of employee churn occurs within first 6 months of service, with 15% of that occurring during training as roles become increasingly complex. Plus, onboarding new employees is expensive as you have to take established staff away from completing their regular tasks in order to train new hires.

Implementing a solution that reduces the employee onboarding process in your organization reduces the amount of time that trained staff have to spend away from completing their job, and reduces churn.

 

Ignite your call center transformation with appointment scheduling

To encourage your customers to embrace the future of banking technology, you must continue to provide them with the channels they are comfortable with. That said, organizations cannot afford to turn a blind eye to operational inefficiencies in their call centers which are negatively impacting the customer experience.  Start your contact center transformation by streamlining appointment scheduling, and you’ll see an increase in back-end process efficiency, lower workforce costs and more positive customer experiences.

 

For more information about how you can enhance your organization’s call center with integrated appointment scheduling, schedule a consultation!