The financial services sector is one of the largest users of call centre solutions. According to one survey, just over a quarter of contact centres globally serve the finance industry.
The complexity of financial products can make it more challenging for consumers to find the right information on their own. When asked what they would like banks to focus on, retail banking customers say they want banks to provide easier access to a human representative, and to make it easier for them to complete banking tasks themselves.
Though there are many digital solutions to achieve these objectives, there is also a simple measure which is often overlooked, and which can have significant impact, both in freeing up agent time and in improving information for customers.
Clarity of Communications
Before customers call up a company representative, it is likely that they will try to find the information they need on other channels. Mobile apps and websites rank as the two top channels for interacting with banks, so they must be as intuitive and informative as possible. If the required information cannot easily be found, only then will customers choose to pick up the phone. For less complicated queries, this can be a drain on agent time, reducing time available to devote to more complex customer issues, and even potentially leading to overall job dissatisfaction.
One straightforward method for improving the quality of information for customers is to redesign documentation. Customers are less likely to call for explanations if the documents available are clear and effective, not only in terms of the information itself but also in the way that it is presented. The cost of reviewing and optimising documentation is modest, but the return on investment can be significant. The results are also likely to be immediately visible.
Testing The Theory
To test this out and demonstrate the concrete impact of optimising documentation, Go Inspire carried out randomised control trials (RCTs) with financial services clients. In one example, a general insurance client had an application process which could be considered as complex as applications in personal loans, mortgages or credit cards, and required a similar level of accuracy checking. The client currently has 1.55 million customers across the UK.
First, the application documents were assessed for clarity and comprehensiveness. Secondly, a number of design formats were tested, to see which format made the information as easy to read and absorb as possible. The new format was then rolled out and the resulting call centre volumes were compared to volumes generated by the original document format.
The result was a 9% reduction in inbound call volumes, representing a baseline net saving of some £270,000 per annum and a rapid return on investment of over 15 times. The sum is likely to be much higher in reality since it does not include other savings such as a reduced need to send out letters or to reprocess agreements. The results of Go Inspire’s RCTs were also applied across the financial services sector – specifically, general and life insurance, mortgage, credit card and personal loan – to demonstrate wider savings potential. According to this model, the financial services sector could be reducing contact centre call costs by over £47 million every year by redesigning information documents.
Reviewing documentation should therefore be the first step for operations and communications professionals looking to improve contact centre efficiency. Costlier options such as call centre software can then be more effectively deployed where they are most needed. In a highly competitive sector, where traditional banks are now contending with customer-centric challengers, clear and accessible information documents can make all the difference.
Nick Cole is Managing Director at Go Inspire Solutions
For additional information on Go Inspire visit their Website