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Are Contact Centers Still Relevant in the Era of Social Media?

In this digital age, with the proliferation of social media and self-service channels, it might be tempting to think that the contact center is on its way out. After all, why would an account holder want or need to make a phone call when they can simply send a message via Facebook or Twitter, or fill out a form on the financial institution’s website?

Actually, there are four big reasons why contact centers are still relevant, even in the era of social media.

#1 – Customers Now Want More Options than Ever – Including Voice

It’s important to note that channel choice isn’t an “either/or” situation for today’s financial consumer when it comes to customer service. Today’s picky (and highly digital) consumer wants to utilize multiple channels for a variety of different purposes. Often an institution’s most engaged account holders are engaging across all platforms. Fifty-seven percent of branch visitors, and 40 percent of those who call into the contact center, also log over 10 web interactions per week.

This desire for multichannel utilization is evenly distributed among the age groups as well; it’s no longer just millennials and Gen Z logging customer service queries via social.

#2 – The Contact Center is Still The Go-To Channel for Escalated Resolution 

33 percent of customer complaints that start out on social media end up being resolved by voice. Think about that. The fact that account holders are using the contact center to escalate requests means it is an even more important component of an institution’s customer service game plan.  If they have not been able to find the answers they seek online, account holders have an urgent need to fill and frequently pick up the phone to do so.

Having an able contact center representative at the ready is a great way to further reinforce brand trust and deepen account holder satisfaction.

#3 – The Contact Center is a Personal Touchpoint in a Digital World

The contact center is more important than ever because of the increase in digital and self-service channels. In 2015, weekly mobile banking exceeded that of weekly branch banking for the first time. Although it may be easy to identify a trend among account holders for less face-to-face interaction, this increase in mobile banking means that the contact center may be the only personal interaction a financial institution gets with its account holders. We are finding, too, these interactions drive loyalty.

Contact centers with live agents continue to grow, despite mobile and digital options. While self-service options like live chat, an online knowledge center and social media can help alleviate some of the burden placed on the contact center, there isn’t a real replacement for phone service. It’s still the highest rated customer service channel.

#4 – Bad Customer Service on Any Channel Still Costs Your Business

To underestimate account holder desire for phone interaction would be a grave misstep for your financial institution, but before you think twice about skimping on contact center service, consider these statistics:

  • It takes 12 positive customer experiences to negate the poor impression left behind from one unresolved, bad experience (for example, a query on social getting escalated to phone and still going unresolved).
  • 52 percent of consumers have switched providers in the past year due to poor customer service.
  • The estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service each year is $1.6 trillion. Can your institution afford to lose business because of a potential gap in contact center service?

For financial institutions undergoing complex conversion events, Harland Clarke’s Contact Center Solutions makes it easy to handle temporary increases in call volume without hiring extra employees or risking negative customer experiences. Our Burst solution can adjust the number of specialists and operational hours required as the project demands. It is a targeted, short-term solution with no long-term commitment necessary.

View our webcast to learn more about the role of the contact center and the growing importance of voice during digital conversions and other enterprise change events.

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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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