Financial institutions, specifically Banks, would easily be one of the largest recipient of inbound calls. Customers are most comfortable once they have spoken to someone at the bank related to whatever query that they might have – Lost a card, Need a loan, Need to activate internet banking etc.I recently activated my internet banking and was happy that my bank, ICICI did not need me to call someone and gave all the information on the website and the sign-up was seamless. ICICI has known to be a more customer centric organization, though wait times on weekends even at their call center is usually high.
On a whim, I decided to test out how efficient Banks are, in providing loan information, as I myself am looking to get a 2 wheeler loan.
Here are some interesting findings of trying to call the Top 10 banks in India
- The median wait time to reach an agent is 75 seconds. One national bank had a faulty Toll free number that didn’t work.
Suggestion – Changes can be done in the IVR system message length, Optimization of message at each node to reduce this wait time. Use of Speech recognition, even on a limited basis, would significantly reduce the wait times.
- Most banks have a standard IVR system which prompts user for language choice and then starts a secondary menu.
Suggestion – 2-3 level prompts is the optimal for information to be received via a call. 5-6 prompts typically frustrates customers and also results in longer wait times. A key intervention here would be to identify existing & repeat customers linked with information from the CRM, and skip a couple of prompts in the IVR. Example – if I am an ICICI customer and I call, the system should automatically identify me and skip the language prompt & the standard balance enquiry message. They can decide to further personalize this interaction & directly connect me to an agent.
- Only 6 out of 10 banks had a single published Toll free number, Out of which 5 were Nationalized banks. This shows a clear trend of call cost reduction by either redirecting customers to call a local number within their region or direct them to a centralized phone number. Also, 1st level of classification for callers is being done by routing such calls to a different set of phone numbers and NOT a single published number.
Steps which can help in Improving this customer experience can be
o Schedule fallback options when agents are busy rather than play “All agents are busy ….”
o If call is not from an existing customer’s number, it should be treated with high priority and reached back to. Here its important to have an integrated solution – IVR, CRM, Overall call center solution.
o Automated touchpoints can be seamlessly embedded in the call center solution – Intelligent IVR, Speech recognition, Schedule call backs – all of which go a long way in creating customer delight.
M V Sandilya