In an increasingly digital world, it can be tempting to use advancing technology to minimise expensive and time-consuming human interaction when dealing with customer enquiries. Some channels, like chat, can lead people to the right solution and avoid the call centre altogether, but in many cases, using technology to replace human interaction can backfire, especially in the financial services sector.  

That’s what we found in our 2021 research of 1,500 customer interactions across the different channels offered by 16 Australian banks and providers.

Invest in people, not just tech

Tier 1 banking has made a lower investment in digital channels than the Big 4 but we found the experience of dealing with them was customer-focused. Customer enquiries were handled more thoroughly, with banking officers spending more time with customers. Transfer rates were lower than in the Big 4 and Tier 2 providers, and banking officers were more skilled at handling enquiries. Customers weren’t passed around between departments for more complex issues. 

This did a far better job of meeting the customer expectations of speed, ease, and feeling valued, and shows that multi-skilling banking officers can set an organisation apart. 

Give your banking officers time

While minimising time spent with each customer is important to the bottom line, banking providers need to keep the bigger picture in mind. Taking the time to explore what triggered the enquiry may mean call centres can resolve issues faster and more completely, reducing the chance of follow-up calls. It also helps build trust, especially when many enquiries are connected to emotionally charged, complex, or important life events. Take a customer buying their first home. Guiding them through the housing market, helping them stay on track with their saving goals, or proactively reaching out when they are close to a deposit would delight a customer and further build brand loyalty.

Use technology to support human interactions

The key is to invest in technology that improves the customer experience, rather than simply improving efficiencies for the business. Look for ways to use tech that increases transparency, proactiveness, and the chance for empathetic value-add transactions. Technology can support the work of banking officers with scripts, relevant information, and automatic alerts to check in. These small changes could dramatically improve your customer experience, giving that vital feeling of being valued, without adding significant cost.


Chloe has been part of the professional services team within Datacom since 2012, with prior experience in financial services. She has over 10 years' experience in contact centres across frontline leadership and support services roles in government, financial services, and insurance.

Related industries
Financial services
Related solutions
Contact centres Customer experience