Michael Misasi, a senior analyst with Mercator Advisory Group, told Kendler he believes there will be more focus on live chatting and customer support via email moving forward.
"Inbound phone calls will always be a priority, but banks are having success resolving many of these interactions with automated systems, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated," he said. "There will also likely be an increased emphasis on cross-selling and up-selling. Banks will rely on call centers for revenue generation, not just customer service."
Steve Beasty, customer banking technology executive with Bank of America, told Kendler that biometrics will transform customer verification. At his business, he said, rather than having multiple navigation windows, they can use an interactive voice response system that allows customers to speak clearly and get what they want. New technology has made integrating multiple channels far easier than it ever has been, and the innovations happening now are just the beginning of what bank call centers will see in the next few years.
Another executive, Teresa Halleck, President and CEO of San Diego County Credit Union, said even as more businesses move toward automation and online chatting, having live call center workers remains essential to keeping customers happy.
"Financial institutions must continue to offer mobile customer service solutions," she said. "While all customers appreciate mobile accessibility, SDCCU understands that sometimes there is no substitute to talking to a live person."
Live chat has pitfalls to avoid
A recent report from Live Person found 94 percent of shoppers who used a live chat during the 2012 holiday season plan to do so again in the future, but there are certainly some pitfalls that must be avoided when using this technology, the Call Center Times said. One big mistake is only providing support during regular office hours for most languages, and this can be especially problematic for larger companies.
"Monitoring and understanding international visitor traffic to the company website can help avoid this mistake, but still leaves a lot to be desired for the customer who wants help when it's convenient for them, not for you," the source said.
Call center executives should also avoid only hiring native language agents, never over-rely on Google Translate, and be sure to keep all customer's' needs in mind.