How to handle an increase in customer complaints in financial services

With UK inflation expected to be 7.25%7.5% in the EU, and 2.1% in Australia, living costs worldwide are rising dramatically. As a result, money is tighter for many financial services customers, and they will likely become more protective of their funds.

Due to this increased financial stress, customer service teams in financial services may notice a spike in calls to either query bills or ask for advice. How firms handle these customer complaints is a key indicator of how they value customers.

This article will touch on the importance of complaint management within financial services organisations. Keep reading to learn more about how to improve customer experience in financial services, including how to handle customer complaints and manage higher call volumes efficiently.

The importance of customer complaint management

If firms understand how to respond to people querying financial institutions during stressful times, they can avoid damaging client relationships. In fact, a study from the University of Leeds suggests that dealing with customer complaints quickly and efficiently ‘positively and significantly influenced customer loyalty’.

A human-first approach to talking about money can protect client relationships. As finance experts, these institutions have an opportunity to offer comfort and viable solutions to customers.

Unresolved customer issues may otherwise lead to dissatisfaction within organisations. This feeling can escalate into public outcries of frustration. Customers sharing poor experiences on social media channels can negatively impact brand reputation.

Financial services thrive on customer trust and satisfaction, so if customers feel valued and prioritised when seeking advice, retentionis likely to increase.  

How to handle customer complaints and manage call volumes

As customers come with queries, it is crucial for customer service in financial services to handle these situations with grace and a human touch to protect client relationships.

1. Communicate clearly and with empathy

Making clear and empathetic communication tactics a core part of your customer service strategy is essential to teams ability to uncover issues and solve them quickly. Managers should ensure representatives are prepared to handle complaints effectively by providing them with soft skills training. For example, representatives trained in empathy are twice as likely to become high performers. 

When customers of financial institutions reach out, they may be increasingly vulnerable due to financial distress. But if representatives can offer clear responses and manage customer expectations no matter how complex the issue, that’s one less thing to worry about. 

78% of customers expect issues to be resolved immediately upon contacting their provider. So strong communication skills may cause customers to be more appreciative and walk away satisfied.

2. Perform root cause analysis

An increase in call volumes is a good opportunity to seek commonalities in complaints and identify the root cause. This approach allows service teams within financial institutions to locate potential areas for improvement. It also demonstrates an opportunity to combine digital solutions with human-first customer service. For instance, utilising data insights to identify common complaints, then passing that info on to frontline service agents.

Focusing on the core of these issues shows teams how to handle customer complaints more efficiently. The root cause analysis will also help companies rethink operational processes and procedures to decrease the likelihood of repeat queries.  

 3. Provide self-service resources

As root cause analysis uncovers trends within customer queries, the information can help service teams create an FAQ section or knowledge base on their website. Knowledge bases make information more accessible, so it only takes a few minutes to answer common questions.  

A survey suggests 61% of customers prefer self-service channels, and 91% would use a knowledge base system like an FAQ page. With speed being a key priority within customer service, the easier it is to find an answer, the better the customer experience. However, it’s vital that human customer service agents are still present to handle complex or high-level complaints. 

4. Give representatives the right tools

 If managers invest in their current services team, they can make the most of their representatives and improve complaint management. The representatives of financial institutions should be trained in the company’s services to approach these situations calmly and knowingly. 

Providing teams with automation tools, such as omnichannel ticketing systems, can also increase productivity. Ticketing specifically helps unify operations and provide visibility into management and past interactions. 

5. Offer a callback service

Customers become impatient when waiting for a response, pressuring service reps to find a speedy solution. Teams can reduce the hassle of wait times and better handle customer complaints by offering a callback service when volumes are high. 

Customers won’t need to wait for an available representative as the team member will reach out to them. On the other hand, team members can focus on the customer at hand. With that said, it’s important to call back customers promptly to solve their issues and ensure they feel respected. 

6. Use scheduling

Customer service teams can proactively deal with high call volume by offering online scheduling. Organisations like the Bank of America provide a tool for scheduling a phone appointment via the bank’s mobile app, making customer service flexible and accessible. 

With this option, customers can plan to deal with a query when they have ample time. Financial institutions may embed an appointment scheduler within a messaging channel, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, so customers can easily set up a chat. 

Scheduling also helps teams become more readily available and prepare for the query. Still, if the call volumes surpass a service team’s capabilities, managers can turn to other options such as outsourcing.

How to improve customer experience in financial services through outsourcing

As call volumes increase, outsourcing customer service can help financial institutions stay on track. Using a specialist that knows how to improve customer experience in financial services lets companies focus instead on core business. It’s also a great way to get over peak complaint reception through one-off problem-solving. 

A survey from Deloitte found cost-efficiency to be the top reason businesses turn to outsourcing, along with flexibility and agility as runners-up. With outsourcing partners like Sigma Connected, financial services companies can improve complaint management and strengthen client relationships. 

Manage customer complaints efficiently with Sigma Connected

Here at Sigma Connected, we value the human side of every customer interaction. We can help improve customer service in financial services by offering knowledgeable, efficient, and personable support. Our Complaints Management service can help financial institutions handle higher call volumes due to increased financial struggles. 

To learn more, contact us today


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