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Customer call systems: exceptions should be the rule

Mike Davis | Sept. 29, 2008
I gave the system a couple of expletives and it put me through to a human operator.

Like the ATM, the contact centres deal with mostly routine transactions and positioning automated telephone banking, often with speech recognition, is an obvious way to reduce costs. Leaving the human operators to deal with the more complex exceptions is a sensible strategy, but only if the automated systems can identify exceptions (without the use of expletives) or if the caller is given an option of bypassing the system when they identify themselves as an exception.

Whilst in the current climate some customers will not be able to move accounts because of their credit ratings, the high-yield ones and thus those most attractive to the banks will move if they do not perceive a good experience.

Customer (or potential customer) experience is a differentiator

In 2005, it was reported that 95% of business leaders believed that customer experience would be where they would have to compete in the future. According to Fujitsu, there are five pillars of customer experience:

1) speed

2) context

3) security

4) value

5) simplicity.

The identification of exceptions is about all five, and the bank in question, and those designing similar systems, need to recognise that future business success may depend upon it.

Ironically, in the example above there was not even the need for a technical fix or reprogramming the automated system; my own bank card has on the back a dedicated number for reporting lost and stolen cards.

Mike Davis is a senior analyst with Ovum.


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