CONTACT CENTER The New Frontline Channel
Banking Frontiers|August 2021
Contact centers have a changed role in the pandemic times. Heads of operations and contact centers of 5 BFSI institutions discuss how their institutions managed to make their contact centers rise to the occasion and deliver services that more than met the customer expectations:

Banking Frontiers in bringing this cover story that discusses how contact centers have changed to be in line with the expectations of the customers during the pandemic.

During the lockdown, most customers could not visit the branches and resorted to digital channels. The contact center became the frontline channel as call volumes rose. Since the staff had to work from home, this created serious challenges. How have BFSI institutions overcome the challenges related to changes in staffing at contact centers during the lockdown? What solutions enabled WFH and what were the changes in incoming and outgoing call volumes? What is the role played by chatbots and the changes in call volumes associated with various products and customer segments? And what is the shape that technology has taken to make the contact centers productive meeting the challenges?

We are discussing the topic in 3 sections - Focus on People, Customer Engagement & Calls and Adoption of the Latest Technologies.

Part 1

Focus on People

Covid & WFH have brought in changes in the way staff is managed in the contact centers:

Equitas Small Finance Bank has around 70 executives in the department that handles customer experience, which comprises not only the contact center but other functions that drive customer care. Dheeraj Mohan, Head, Strategy & IR, BI & CE at the bank, says at the contact center, the bank has around 50 employees across voice and non-voice channels. “During the last 12 months, we have not scaled up the team despite customer acquisition rates doubling at the bank, but we are investing in automation solutions to ensure the scale-up is more tech-driven than manpower-led.”

He adds further: “We have been focusing on technology-led initiatives that empower our customers to service themselves efficiently and quickly.”

Kotak Mahindra Bank has a total of 4 call centers – 3 in-house and one outsourced. Nearly 2000 employees manage the inbound and outbound calls at these centers. Puneet Kapoor, President - Products, Alternate Channels & Customer Experience Delivery at the bank says: “We are guided by the positivity rate of covid in each city. Depending on the positivity rate, about 10-20% of the total staff works from home.”

India Post Payments Bank contact center operates with a strong workforce of around 140 employees. Easwaran Venkateswaran, COO at India Post Payments Bank says: “During the last 12 months, there has been a 30% increase in the total workforce at our contact centers besides the addition of a new site.”

Aviva Life Insurance has 16 people handling inbound calls and 2 people handling outbound calls at its contact center. The team is supplemented by its chatbot ‘ALISHA’ to help its potential customers. Kunal Anand, Chief Operations and Customer Service Officer at Aviva Life Insurance says there have been no changes in the number of employees handling outbound calls whereas the number of employees for inbound calls was 19 till April 2021. He adds that over a period, the company has seen a shift as customers prefer digital contact over calls now.

CONTACT CENTER STAFF ON WFH

Nearly 80% of the contact center staff at Bajaj Allianz General Insurance is working from home, and the rest from the office as they voluntarily opted for it. They are all vaccinated too. The company is conducting vaccination drives and hoping that once all its staff members are fully vaccinated, the percentage of staff working from the office would increase. VK Dipu, Head – Operations & Customer Service at the company says: “We will consider the same only if it is safe for the employees and the WFH option will be enabled as and when required.”

According to Kunal of Aviva Life Insurance, lockdowns have caused the entire working model to change, and being a people-first organization, the safety of the employees is the topmost priority for the bank. “Since the lockdown was announced last year, our entire contact center staff is working from home. A decision on whether to continue with the 100% WFH model or to move to a hybrid model in the next 6 months cannot be taken right now because of the unpredictive nature of the lockdown situation. We will take a proactive decision depending upon changing environment and lockdown relaxations, keeping both the customer and employee interests at heart,” says he.

At Equitas Small Finance Bank, 100% of the contact center staff is worked from home. The bank had seamlessly shifted to WFH mode as a basic infrastructure for such a shift was ready. It opened offices for employees who wished to get back to the office when the first covid subsided as better internet connectivity, bandwidth, and office infrastructure helped improve the team’s productivity.

Dheeraj explains that the second wave saw the bank return to WFH for about 3 months and now about 50% of the team is back in the office. The bank is looking at a hybrid model as a long-term solution as it helps the bank to engage with the ₹gig talent pool’ and improve its capacity across regional languages. “In general, the overall headcount is set to increase by over 30% as we are witnessing a strong business momentum in terms of customer acquisition. We are also reasonably clear that WFH is not as efficient as working from office,” he says.

REMOTE MANAGEMENT

Adapting to the prevailing scenario required changes such as managers being provided with an admin account with the required floor management access. Kunal says additionally, managers are using the dashboard to do the routine floor management enabling them to manage work efficiently even when teams are working remotely.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BANKING FRONTIERSView All

Mental Health & D&I: Both Problems Have Similar Solutions

The pandemic has created heightened awareness about mental health issues, while Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) issues have been steadily becoming more visible. While the problems are distinct, there is a lot in common among the solutions:

7 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Bandhan Bank: Building a robust, granular liabilities franchise

On the occasion of its 6th Foundation Day celebrated on 23rd August, Chandra Shekhar Ghosh analyses the bank’s achievements and explains how it has earned the trust and confidence of 23 million Indians:

8 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

A platform to buy and sell anything seamlessly

BNP Paribas has a unique platform, Cortex Life, that allows traders to sell or buy everything from bullion to currencies and also do trading in currencies or commodities:

3 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Fikar Not Says Fino's Brand Ambassador

Anand Bhatia, CMO, Fino Payments Bank shares details of the journey to appointing a brand ambassador for the bank and planning the creative and media:

4 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Covid boosts top-up loans & balance transfers

Arvind Hali, MD & CEO, Motilal Oswal Home Finance reveals how the pandemic is affecting business and how the company is responding:

3 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Boosting organizational and systemic resilience

Mahesh Kumar Jain, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, gave a speech titled ‘Building a More Resilient Financial System in India through Governance Improvements’ on June 18, 2021 at the India international Centre, New Delhi. Edited excerpts:

7 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

South Africa enhances safety, efficiency & access

In March 2018, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) published the National Payment System Framework and Strategy – Vision 2025, with the overarching vision to enhance the safety, efficiency and accessibility of the national payment system in a manner that promotes competition and minimises risk to the payments ecosystem by leveraging technological developments to extend the availability of digital payments to all sectors of society while meeting domestic, regional and international requirements for the benefit of all members of South African society. Vision 2025 comprises 9 goals.

3 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

BFSI SECTOR TURNS Green

The BFSI sector is keenly adopting green policies, practices and technologies with the aim of being more sustainable and protecting the environment:

10+ mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Model Insured Villages to Boost Rural Penetration

Neeraj Prakash, Managing Director, Shriram General Insurance shares the company’s strategies to tap rural markets and leverage new technologies:

4 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021

Virtual surveys hasten loss assessment

Ravichandran N., CTO, at Kotak Mahindra General Insurance explains how the insurer will be leveraging advanced modelling tools in response to heatwaves and flooding:

3 mins read
Banking Frontiers
October 2021
RELATED STORIES

Counting Penguins

Counting penguins is harder than it sounds. With freezing rain, snow, and chilling winds that limit the flight windows for the surveys, it takes scientists using three full days to map the location of 300,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins on Antarctica’s Cape Crozier.

2 mins read
RotorDrone
August/ September 2021

The Case for Crypto

HYDRA HEADS: The roller-coaster world of cryptocurrencies. And what India should do about it

2 mins read
India Today
October 25, 2021

Plant Magic ONLY EARTH

With the change in time, our needs and preferences are changing. And when it comes to leading a healthier life, this change has helped us bring in more varieties of products that are good for our bodies.

2 mins read
TMM
September 2021

To help viewers discover and buy products from Indian retailers through video: YouTube to acquire simsim

As more and more shopping happens online, video has an important role in helping viewers discover new products and find expert advice they trust.

1 min read
Apps Unveiled
July 2021

Viagra ‘sellers' of Kalina dupe US citizens, 3 held

An illegal call centre that duped US citizens by offering to sell Viagra and other drugs without the mandatory medical prescription was busted on Friday by the crime branch of the city police.

2 mins read
The Times of India Mumbai
July 17, 2021

MS DHONI Comes On Board Copter7!

Copter7 is a range of new artisanal chocolates and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) by 7Ink Brews, a young and dynamic food and beverage company based out of Mumbai, founded by Mohit Bhagchandani and co-founded by Adil Mistry and Kunal Patel.

4 mins read
TMM
May 2021

Vaccination from Home?

Showing its concern for senior citizens, the Bombay High Court asked the centre if it was possible to inject them at home. It took the example of Los Angeles and Israel

4 mins read
India Legal
May 10, 2021

HOW CAN THE DIAMOND TRADE SPEAK BETTER TO A STRONG, INDEPENDENT FEMALE SHOPPER?

Promoting Diamond Jewellery Amidst Independent Female Shoppers

10+ mins read
Diamond World
January - February 2021

This Platform is Enabling Peer-to-Peer Donation Seamless

Co-founded by actor Kunal Kapoor and Varun Sheth, Ketto’s motto is healthcare for all.

3 mins read
Entrepreneur magazine
April 2021

The Bigger Blessings Of Life With Kunal Kemmu

The man of adventure and versatility, Kunal Kemmu is un-doubtedly an exponential actor who has never failed to impress us. Debuted in the film industry as a child artist in 1993 in Sir, his passion for acting has only increased ever since then. In 2005, he debuted as a lead actor in the film Kalyug. From the big screen, web series to short-films Kunal has established himself as a true actor, winning our hearts with his performance and that contagious smile. It's rare to come across people who have got a big heart and a generous mind and Kunal is definitely one among them. His humbleness and kind nature have been lauded by his colleagues and with close interaction with him for our shoot, we can only add-on to that.

8 mins read
CANdYMAg
February 2021