Research Shows Banking Call Center Considerably Undervalued
April 09, 2008
Call centers have generally served as the point of contact between the customer and the company. While it served an important purpose, the center was also a significant drain on capital as it had no direct line of revenue that it brought into the company. Fortunately for call centers today, that perception and reality are changing.
In many industries, call centers act as powerful generators of new revenue. In the world of telecommunications, some companies have reported revenue generation from their call centers as high as 60 percent of new revenue. For certain credit card companies, that number is closer to 25 percent.
For retail banking, McKinsey estimates that every five inbound service agents could generate as much new retail business as a mature branch. Dedicated efforts to cross-sell during inbound service calls could effectively increase annual sales of new products by an amount equivalent to 10 percent of the retail sales generated by a bank’s entire branch network.
In a call center, the cost of sales can be covered in the first hour of each day. The challenge is that employees are virtually never engaged in anything other than talking to customers and finding new customers is not only difficult, it may not even be an option.
Call centers loom larger today in part due to their ability to generate revenue, yet it is not enough to ward off the yearly budget crunches. The same number of sales, a bank call center will take one-tenth of the people and one-quarter of the cost of sales compared to the branch network. Given these ratios, effectively selling through the call center should be an irresistible source of free profit margin.
Another reason to maximize the call center’s potential for generating revenue is the lost opportunity cost of the undervalued, under-trained, under-empowered employee. In the retail banking industry, it is never more true or applicable that knowledge workers are needed by the banks far more so than the other way around.
Yet, despite the constant boasting that people are the company’s most valuable asset, executives continue to manage employees as a cost and yet these same employees are often the only source of long-term competitive advantage that the organization has with which to compete.
At the end of the day, no company – bank or other corporation – can ignore the impact that the call center has on their overall business. The failure to recognize the value of the center will certainly guarantee that the organization will fail to maximize the potential within the call center, losing out on revenue and profit potential that can greatly impact the bottom line.