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Tips to Reduce Customer Wait Time

Eight Tips to Reduce and Avoid Customer Wait Times in the Financial Services Space

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Executive Vice President

According to a Microsoft study, customers in the UK experience an average wait time of eight minutes and 27 seconds when attempting to connect with a financial services representative through a call center.

This duration is significantly slower, measuring 25.35 times higher than the industry’s optimal standard for call centers.

Look at these findings:

These are generic customer service findings, but they won’t be too different in the financial services industry. 

  • 7 am is the best time to call customer service as the call center wait times are 70% shorter before noon.
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best weekdays to contact customer service because they have the shortest average wait times.
  • Customer service is 16% slower on Mondays than any other weekday.
  • Sunday is the best bet, as wait times are 19% shorter that day than any other day of the week.

Isn’t customer service the organization’s responsibility, especially in the financial services industry?

As a customer, should I be bothered about how to structure my customer service needs based on these statistics?

What Do I Experience?

Every time I call up my bank’s customer service, I am directly connected to the customer service agent. I don’t have to go through the IVR menu, as I am in the privileged customer category. They identify me based on my phone number.

Besides, my bank provides me with a mobile application where I can do most transactions – transfers, deposits, service requests, trading, and stock transactions.

I hardly need to go to the physical branch of the bank.

However, I don’t get the same treatment with the other bank where I have another account. My wait times are pretty high, and I am requested to visit the branch for most transactions.

What is the difference between these two, and how can this gap be reduced?

Technology is the key here, and in this article, I will talk about some examples and ways financial institutions can enhance customer service.

Eight Technology Tips to Improve and Avoid Customer Wait Times

1. AI-Powered Chatbots

Imagine your bank integrates an AI-powered chatbot on its website and mobile app.

You can use the chatbot to inquire about account balance, transaction history, and initiate everyday transactions without waiting in a phone queue.

2. Mobile App Self-Service

How about having a mobile app that allows you to perform routine transactions, such as fund transfers, bill payments, and account management?

This reduces the number of customers calling customer service for basic tasks.

3. Predictive Analytics

Your bank runs a promotional campaign or does a system update. What follows naturally is a spike in call volumes, which can be predicted in advance with a sound analytics system.

This will allow your bank to allocate additional customer service resources during peak times, minimizing wait times.

4. IVR System With Natural Language Processing

Imagine your bank deploying an IVR system that incorporates natural language processing.

You can speak in natural language to the IVR, allowing for more intuitive and efficient call routing without navigating multiple menu options.

5. Queue Management With Callback Options

How about your bank implementing a queue management system that gives customers estimated wait times?

Additionally, the bank can allow customers to receive a callback instead of waiting on hold, allowing them to continue their day until a representative is available.

6. Skills-Based Routing

Has your bank implemented skills-based routing in its customer service?

For instance, you can talk to a specialized representative for investment advice with skills-based routing. This improves efficiency and overall experience as you speak to the most qualified professionals.

7. Omnichannel Support

As a bank, you would have multiple channels through which you provide customer service and support – email, phone, chat, and social media.

Are they integrated and offer a single view of your customers?

With omnichannel, the customer can choose the channel of their choice, and the bank will ensure consistent service across different channels.

8. Customer Feedback

Do you collect regular feedback from your customers about their experiences with customer service?

You can use the insights gained from this feedback to identify pain points and areas of improvement, leading to ongoing adjustments and enhancements in service delivery.

Financial institutions must assess their specific challenges, customer demographics, and technology infrastructure to implement the most effective solutions tailored to their needs.

However, these eight tips illustrate how technology can enhance customer service efficiency in the financial services industry and reduce customer wait times.

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