“US Contact Center Verticals: Financial Services” looks at the structure, growth, technology, HR and commercial issues found in contact centers within the US financial services sector, which includes banks, credit card companies, loan companies, stockbrokers, financial services advisors and debt collection agencies.
It contains data from multiple large-scale surveys of hundreds of contact centers carried out since 2010, and is the definitive study of this vertical market’s customer contact operations.
Report summary and contents
Size and growth:
Since 2011, there have been significant new entrants to the financial services market: often smaller, more specialized operations, rather than major brand names, which have opened smaller contact centers, but this is more than matched by the consolidation of multiple operations into fewer, larger contact centers. With the steady uptake of online self-service by banking customers, the number of overall contact center jobs in the sector looks to have peaked at close to 900,000.
While financial services has been relatively slow to embrace digital communication over voice, this has started to change very quickly in recent years and expectations are high for solutions such as web chat to be implemented in the near future. There is considerable expectation amongst financial services contact centers that speech analytics and AI will be implemented in the near future.
The finance industry is weighted towards telephony contact. Going against the prevailing industry norm, there seems to be a slight movement away from self-service towards live telephony although self-service figures for this sector are far above the norm. Digital channels are currently under-served although this has changed somewhat recently.
Salaries, attrition and absence:
In recent years, financial services agents are more likely to earn a little less than the industry average, with most recent figures showing that finance agents will earn around $500 per year less than a typical US contact center agent.
Finance agent attrition rates are roughly similar to the wider industry average (25-30%), and absence rates have historically been very similar to those seen US-wide.
In line with the contact center industry as a whole, finance has seen average call duration increase since 2012. Average speed to answer has been considerably higher than the industry average for the past five years.
While the demand for financial services products is increasing, businesses will look to implement consolidation and cost-cutting exercises in order to maintain profitability in a hyper-competitive industry and increasing levels of self-service, automation and digital communication will slow any growth in headcount and operations.
However, there is little danger as things stand that the financial services contact center industry will experience a significant decline in overall agent numbers, as contact centers are still a far more cost-effective way of provide services than the local branch network model.
Recent rises in self-service, mobile banking, online financial product quotes, comparison sites and online banking mean that the typical call dealt with by the finance sector will become more complicated and require greater skills from the agent, and it is likely that the salaries of contact center agents within the financial services industry will increase both absolutely and relatively as the complexity and expertise required to handle the average finance voice interaction will continue to rise.
The Use and Effect of Omnichannel 16
Inbound & Outbound Activity 18
Agent Attrition 25
Agent Absence 26
Agent Activity 27
Call Duration 28
Speed to Answer 29
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