Why banking customers prefer to deal with call centre agents
Our 2022 consumer research found that despite the fact that the majority of South African consumers are banking almost exclusively digitally, they still prefer to deal with call centre agents when they need to contact their bank.
“Since consumers are most often looking for problem solving from agents, the human touch remains incredibly important for banking customer service in SA. When dealing with something as sensitive as finances, the human touch ensures that consumers feel heard and understood,” explains our HR Director, Nadia Naidu.
When taking the survey, those who said they preferred to deal with contact centre agents when contacting their bank (as opposed to chatbots or self-service channels), the most common reasons were:
- Agents are knowledgeable around products and services
- It is easier to acquire the required information from another person
- Feedback is instant and queries can be resolved in one contact
- It is convenient to talk to an agent from the comfort of their own home, or wherever they happen to be at the time
- It is a good option for getting service in your home language
Interestingly, those aged between 18 and 24 years old are most likely to prefer call centre contact with their bank, while those aged over 50 were more likely to want to visit a branch. Only 13% of respondents said they preferred dealing with their bank through a chatbot or chat facility.
“While chatbots are helpful for quick queries, they are not designed to handle complex queries which usually rely on problem solving abilities,” says Naidu. “Well trained agents are also able to be empathetic toward the consumer and understand their frustrations, which is especially important for this sector.”
Merchants works hard to ensure that the right agents are matched to the right position, through behavioural profiling of job candidates – ensuring they are able to handle all queries professionally and efficiently.