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5 Trends Impacting Your Contact Center in 2017

By pairing data from the recently published BAI Retail Banking Outlook survey, and Harland Clarke’s personal data from years servicing the financial industry, we’ve compiled the following 5 trends to be aware of in 2017. Is your financial institution (and contact center) sufficiently prepared? Read on.

#1 Emphasis on Technology

The uptick in demand for technology is our number one trend to watch, and you’ll find many of the trends below have a similar tech theme. While mobile technology certainly isn’t new, the urgency for financial institutions to become digital is on the rise. According to the BAI survey, technology now ranks as the second most important reason account holders choose a financial institution, up 10% since the last survey.

With financial institutions converting to a new online banking provider to stay competitive, the need for a well-staffed contact center is imperative in order to handle increased call volume during a conversion event. From Harland Clarke’s own data, we found that nearly thirty percent of account holders call during a conversion event, which can nearly double call center volumes.1

#2 Strengthening Account Holder Relationships and Trust

How are financial institutions going to ensure account holders increase their spending? Through strong relationships and brand trust. This emphasis on account holder relationships is going to hold as financial institutions continue their conversion into mobile and beyond.

Account holder trust is a challenge (primarily) plaguing large financial institutions; 72% of large financial institutions claim to have account holder relationships as a focus of their business culture, while consumers rank Community Banks and Credit Unions with higher trust scores than their large financial institution counterparts.  In both big and small financial institutions alike, 68% of all customer inquiries still happen via phone,  which means having a helpful, efficient, and knowledgeable contact center is still an incredible opportunity to meet and exceed customer expectations, further building trust.

#3 –Rise in the “Millennial” Way of Banking

Generational differences may play a factor in how likely an account holder feels trust in their chosen financial brand; Baby Boomers are reportedly more likely to trust traditional financial institutions than Millennials. This could be a leftover feeling from the 2008 recession, or due to Millennials digital fluency and desire for financial products to be accessible via phone. With hybrid household/tech brands like Amazon, Apple, and Google offering digital financial products, it may not be so much a question of trust, but one of choosing financial products that fit in better with the hyper-tech “millennial” lifestyle.

#4 Customer Desire for an Omnichannel Experience

It isn’t just millennials who desire multiple ways to connect with a brand; consumers across all age groups want an omnichannel banking experience, from in-person banking, to contact centers, to mobile banking.

With consumers conducting an average of 53 interactions each month, it’s important for a financial institution to offer a variety of ways for account holders to access their products in order to meet demands and keep customer satisfaction high.

#5 – Mobile is Taking Over

Even though the BAI study showed the number of transactions per account holder varied generationally, the number of in-person transactions happening at the branch stayed the same across each group. Financial institutions reported a 39% in-person usage in 2016, which was a 6% decrease from the prior survey. The majority of usage (61%) is now happening remotely: from mobile, to PC, to call centers.

This means that while millennials may use digital services more so than their GenX/Baby Boomer counterparts, in-person usage is on the decline for everyone.

Even though financial institutions are “going digital”, a Gartner survey discovered nearly a third of all customer interactions in 2017 will still require a human response. This stat demonstrates that even as customers find new ways to bank, they still desire the same level of customer service as before. With increased digital usage comes the need for better customer service; something more personal than what consumers can find online. Otherwise, why take the time to call?

With customers demanding new, non-traditional ways to bank, why insist on a traditional contact center solution? Many companies offer an “all or nothing” approach leaving the businesses that need a customized offering feeling frustrated. Instead of outsourcing your entire contact center, Burst by Harland Clarke is flexible enough to augment staff for short-term change events, such as online banking and mobile conversions, branch closings or expansions, and mergers and acquisitions.

> Click here to learn more about Burst

1 2016 Harland Clarke data

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Harland Clarke Corp. is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions and marketing services, serving multiple industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, and telecommunications.

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