Today’s business climate is creating a difficult balancing act for CX leaders. On one hand, they’re looking to provide customers with excellent service while providing omnichannel engagement in customers’ preferred channels. On the other hand, hiring skilled labor and retaining a trained workforce continues to be challenging in the current market. These opposing criteria can strain contact center operations and effect their ability to provide customer service at the desired level.
A recent poll suggests that financial services leaders see several items as the top CX issues facing the industry. Opinions show four areas of concern: high call volumes, long wait times, talent retention, overall CX costs. After considering the results, it may seem prudent to keep to the status quo until economic conditions improve. But, is that good strategy to meet the current moment and prepare for 2023?
This is a question posed to two of TTEC’s banking and insurance experts —Group Vice President Kristen Hein and Vice President JoVanna Dukes during a recent LinkedIn LIVE webinar. Here are some highlights of the conversation.
A domino effect is hitting CX
Staffing issues are the biggest issue affecting many firms’ ability to provide quality customer experience, both Hein and Dukes agree. Companies unable to fully staff their contact centers are realizing higher call volumes and longer wait times, resulting in a lower level of customer care. In turn, this can increase stress for contact center associates. Many end up leaving their jobs. A cycle is created.
“The CX industry has struggled to retain talent,” says Dukes. “We’ve seen a lot of attrition and turnover and it leads to longer hold times and less capacity within your contact center operations.” Even if the is not an increase in call volume, she says, fewer employees mean capacity to volume will be higher.
Outsourcing can be an effective solution
Hein sees the situation as good opportunities for companies looking to get creative with their solutions. Don’t be afraid to outsource as a way to be flexible and provide expert service, she says.
“Outsourcing has matured beyond cost reduction,” says Hein. “It’s really a way for firms to be better and to access talent and capabilities. It gives flexibility and drives innovation in a space where you can partner with someone, especially someone who has experience in financial services.”
Personalization important for impactful CX
According to Hein, one study shows that 78% of Americans prefer to do their banking digitally. “The financial services industries are dealing with a different engagement level. They need to up their digital game,” she says.
Upping their digital game does not stop at providing a choice of digital channels, from voice, chat, apps, and websites, Hein says. It’s also about making sure CX associates have the right training in these channels and can still provide a personalized customer service.
It’s important to not take personalization out of the digital engagement, Hein adds. In today’s digital environment, employees need innovative training so they can provide a high-level of personalization and expertise. “Whether they’re handling that engagement over the phone or through a digital channel, personalization has to resonate with your customers.” It’s a level of customer experience that calls back to the days of branch banking when customer service was an important part of employee training.
EX will be key for 2023
The ‘Flex EX’ model of employee work is a becoming a trend and helping companies to find a magic equation in their overall CX services, Hein says. A mix of part-time, full-time, and floater employees working with dynamic schedules can bring in diverse, multigenerational talent with experience (and certifications) required in financial services fields, creating a deep-bench that can be ramped up during peak times or used to cover a lag in staffing.
Dukes suggests firms need to look at their overall ecosystem, from employee to tech, as the first place to measure how well a contact center is operating. “Look at every aspect of the agent experience: Is it working or not? How is it helping your agent support your contact center operations and your customers?” She says first call resolution is a great metric, but if the tools, staff, and training are not in place then this is not a meaningful, nor achievable, goal.
“Too often brands don’t think about the employee side of CX as a place to start or where to really make sure they’re delivering a great customer experience,” says Dukes. It’s about setting up an employee experience that agents want and provide them training they need so the call center team can grow and mature, Duke adds.
Whether your contact center operations are struggling with CX or EX or both, Hein and Dukes both say collaborating with an experienced partner is a great place to start.
“It’s really impossible for one party to accomplish all the things – staffing and support – on their own,” says Dukes. Don’t be afraid to bring in a partner.
To dive into Hein and Dukes’ analysis and solutions, watch their full 20 minute webinar Financial Services CX Now and What’s Ahead in 2023.