Striving for enhanced customer service and customer satisfaction
By Farrah Brake
Bank Muscat’s new phone banking platform with enhanced functionalities and customer recognition has brought about better customer service and satisfaction. The project won the award for “Best Self Service Banking Project in the Middle East” in The Asian Banker Technology Implementation Awards 2015.
The retail banking market in the Sultanate of Oman has been undergoing rapid changes in recent years, with local banks coming under pressure to contain costs.
As part of its programme to improve performance management processes, Bank Muscat has embarked on a drive to build up and improve its retail banking processes in order to maintain its market-leading position. The bank has also introduced innovative electronic channels, including internet and mobile banking, in addition to its contact centres.
Bank Muscat is the largest bank in Oman by asset size and physical distribution network. It has 140 branches; 600 ATM and cash deposit machines; and 12,000 point-of-sale terminals.
The problem: better call handling
In Oman, banking is still heavily dependent on branch and ATM networks, with heavy reliance on call centres for transaction processing and inquiry resolution. Bank Muscat’s call centres had previously handled an average of 250,000 calls a year, or one call every two minutes 24/7 before implementation of its Interactive Voice Response (IVR) service.
Due to the heavy volume of traffic, the bank required an upgrade for its entire contact centre facility to the latest technology platform by revamping its self-service, computer telephone integration application. The bank wanted to make self–service interactions more reliable and secure while providing a hassle-free customer experience.
To enhance contact centre functionalities across all platforms, Bank Muscat tapped Servion to deliver an intelligent, intuitive, dynamic, and predictive self-service solution. Servion implemented ServIntuit, a solution that enables easy validation of customer identity, automatic transactions after the identity validation process, and a call-back option for clients who are unable to use self-service functions or who do not want to wait in a long queue.
The solution: transactional knowledge of customers
ServIntuit helps predict customer interaction intent based on behavioural and transactional knowledge of the customer. ServIntuit incorporates customer information from a variety of sources such as customer relationship management and customer-type indicator databases to predict customer needs, situations, and behaviour patterns. The system enables the bank to have a consolidated view of the customer on a single screen. Figure 1 shows the flow of customer data and how the system helps improve individual customer experience.
After determining the customer’s behaviour, the system creates service rules for each customer on a real-time basis based on the data collected and analysed. The service configurator then customises services across channels for that particular caller. This results in an IVR call flow being modified based on the identified need, hence routing the resulting call flow in a manner that is relevant to the caller. The features enable a tracked resolution workflow that ensures that a satisfactory resolution is produced.
Service rules for each client customises services across channels for that particular caller
Figure 1: The Interactive ServIntuit Design
A strong focus on system security was maintained when the programme was set up. To address major implementation risks during the migration of middle ware, ATM PIN input, and card system migration to the new platform, integration of the systems was done in stages to ensure that security concerns were addressed before proceeding. Figure 2 desmonstrates how the new system is integrated between the call centre, different host systems, and other bank systems.
Risk is managed from an early stage to ensure smooth execution with no downtime
Figure 2: System Components of Bank Muscat’s Contact Centre Solution
The business impact
With the newly revamped IVR system, Bank Muscat gained five key business benefits, namely, cost reduction, increased revenue, increased customer satisfaction, increased customer retention, and customer acquisition.
The new system has had a major impact on cost reduction and revenue as the cost of client self-service is one-fifth the cost of what is required for an agent to resolve an issue.
The new system features helped reduce the number of repeat callers and the bank has seen increased customer satisfaction as a result. Customer satisfaction improved by 20%, with a larger number of customers reporting a positive experience when filling out call centre surveys and talking with representatives. Staff satisfaction scores have also increased across the board with an integrated best service model now in place. Staff enjoy their work, increase their productivity, and create new cross-sell opportunities. The bank has also experienced higher levels of customer retention.
The measurement and monitoring systems are aligned with business goals in that information collected from customers’ interactions is mined for a more accurate understanding of customer behaviour. As a result of the integrated service model, the bank now has the ability to have a full call survey management system and has improved its customer segmentation.
Many additional benefits also emerged following implementation, including the ability for customer service agents to have a 360-degree of the view customer from a single screen. Prior to this, 11 screens had to be opened simultaneously to get a full picture of one client relationship. This has allowed for greater customer segmentation, increased cross-sell opportunities, and provision of more individualised servicing for clients.
Better bank service through improved self-service
By recognising the key role played by its call centre within its distribution network and by implementing the new IVR system, Bank Muscat has found a way to not only contain costs while delivering significantly enhanced customer service. It has also improved the customer’s experience in a positive way using self-service processes.
In the first few months following implementation, a 30% increase in customer self-identification and validation increased self-service transactions by 25%. The increase in first contact resolution rates and reduced call waiting times led to a significant reduction in calls to the bank as the need for multiple calls was eliminated. The implementation of the call-back feature coupled with reduced waiting time meant the number of abandoned calls was reduced by 70%. Implementation of ServIntuit reduced the number of prompts required for customers to reach the information requested, and this helped reduce the number of customer disconnections.
Prior to ServIntuit’s implementation, the call centre was just for inquiry and resolution. However, the reduced talk time required for agents to verify customer information led to increased sales opportunities, moving the centre to become a profit centre instead of a cost centre.
Going forward, more calls should start to come in through its new platform, which would allow Bank Muscat to provide more services to customers through its once pilloried, but now pillar, call centre.
Bank Muscat—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
Keywords: Customer Service, Customer Satisfaction, Bank Muscat, ServIntuit