- Westpac is relocating 1,000 jobs from India and the Philippines to Australia and hiring new people next year.
- Westpac's move shows that call centers will be of paramount importance to customer service in the foreseeable future.
The large Australian bank is relocating call center resources due to the growing need for customer support and service delays, the Sydney Morning Herald Reports.
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The bank will relocate 1,000 jobs from India and the Philippines to Australia and hire new workers next year. Peter King, Westpac's CEO, said, "While we have provided additional resources to support the unprecedented demand for COVID-19, sometimes our response rates have been too slow." Some roles are kept overseas, but King noted that when a customer calls the bank, their call is answered by someone in Australia.
At the beginning of the pandemic, call centers became the central line of communication between customers and banks – and were flooded with requests for payment holidays. Bank call center global flooded with inquiries from affected customers about postponing mortgage, credit card and business loan payments.
Call centers also became lifelines for high-risk and quarantined consumers who had no way to go to the branches that were still open. This overwhelming volume led to considerable waiting times for many consumers.
The move from Westpac, which is expected to incur initial annual costs of $ 45 million, shows that call centers will remain paramount to customer service for the foreseeable future.
- The move underscores the separation of customer service options between what customers want and what banks offer on their digital platforms. The continuing high volume of call centers suggests that a significant number of customers still do not rely on digital channels for support. And many have indicated it to prefer Human expertise in financial transactions, especially in times of crisis – call centers are particularly valuable at the moment. Banks should keep going through their digital channels to fill the customer service gap by tailoring them to current needs: Bank of America, for example informed his Erica chatbot to respond to over 60,000 pandemic-related terms and inquiries.
- The high volume of calls is likely to continue in the coming months, so the need for accessible and responsive call centers is paramount. Amid extreme economic uncertainty and high Unemployment rates in Australia, banks can probably expect sustained high communication rates with customers – especially since the Big Four banks in Australia earlier this month extended Loaning vacation for another four months for borrowers who still have financial problems. To maintain customer satisfaction and limit reputational damage during this crisis, banks need to improve their customer service channels. Moving domestic call center employees and increasing hires could be good first steps to improve the call center experience and reduce customer frustration.
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