Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Research Supports Move to Multi-Channel Contact Centers

June 17, 2008

Companies that fail to pay attention to the satisfaction level of their customer base are very likely to spend considerable time and resources to acquire new customers as maintaining the base proves to be too difficult. The contact center can play a significant role in driving customer satisfaction and ensure that customers remain loyal.

In a customer loyalty survey by Thunderhead that examines customer satisfaction in the banking and insurance industries, 61 percent of consumers are actively considering switching insurance providers in the next 12 months, with 63 percent saying the same about their banks. 
Surveying 500 consumers across the U.S. and the U.K. about attitudes toward their current financial services providers, the enterprise company also asked consumers about the quality of communications received from their banks and insurance companies over the last year.

Of all respondents surveyed, only 26 percent said that they felt their current bank or insurance company sent them personalized communications that were relevant to their needs.

What is important to note is that only a very small number of consumers surveyed feel a sense of ‘loyalty’ to their insurance providers and banks. Given this perception among this sample consumer base, those operating in these markets should re-examine their customer-facing strategies to identify areas of weakness where improvements can be made.

"Maintaining customer loyalty continues to be a key issue for our banking and insurance clients," said Glen Manchester, CEO of Thunderhead, in a company statement.
"Customers have never had higher service expectations and have come to expect today’s providers to communicate with them across the range of devices they use in their daily lives. Our banking and insurance clients are actively seeking new ways to engage with customers to enhance their level of service and build customer loyalty."

Thunderhead’s research has also found that the proliferation of mobile phones, BlackBerrys and social networking sites is also impacting the customer’s preferred method of communications.

Real-time communications were considered very important to 50 percent of consumers. Another 76 percent said they would like the option to receive communications via e-mail and 40 percent preferred relevant, timely information delivered to them via personalized Web portals.

A quickly growing segment also have indicated that they would like to receive messages and notifications through SMS messages and were also interested in having messages ad new product offers delivered to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

"Gone are the days when financial providers can rely on bank tellers and brokers to build relationships with the customer. Ensuring personal, relevant and timely communications with each individual customer, via a number of different channels, is critical to building and maintaining a strong relationship and retaining customers. As a result, customer engagement and multi-channel communications must be a top business priority for banks and insurance providers," Manchester concluded.

Research findings such as these strongly support the move away from traditional call centers to multi-channel contact centers that can support multiple methods of communications. Those companies that choose to ignore the customer preference for communication are more likely to breed dissatisfaction and high customer churn.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for Market Drive News. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.