Customer Experience with Call Center Representatives: First Contact Resolution is Key


Prime Performance surveyed nearly 1,781 customers who had recently interacted with a bank or credit union call center representative to better understand what drives customer satisfaction. This report is based on the Prime Performance 2010 Bank & Credit Union Survey and shows scores for credit unions, small banks with less than 300 branches, large banks with 300 or more branches, and the three mega-banks; Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Overall Satisfaction with Service

Seventy-three percent of customers are satisfied with the service they received on their recent interaction with a call center representative at a bank or credit union, while 6% are dissatisfied. Credit unions and small banks consistently outperform their larger competitors on overall satisfaction, likely to recommend and meeting their customers' needs.

First Contact Resolution

Customers call with a purpose and if their inquiry is not resolved during the call, satisfaction plummets. Overall, 91% of customers said their inquiry was resolved satisfactorily during the call and when this is the case, 79% are satisfied with the experience and only 1% dissatisfied. For the 9% of calls where the inquiry was not resolved satisfactorily, only 11% were satisfied and 49% dissatisfied. Customers expect their needs will be met on a single call. Customers are not satisfied if they have to call back or are told to go to a branch to get help.

Explain Things in a Way that is Easy to Understand

Likewise, customers expect that call center representatives will explain things in a way that is easy to understand which occurs on 91% of calls. When the call center representative explains things in a way that is easy to understand, 78% of customers are satisfied with the call and 3% are dissatisfied, but when this does not occur only 17% of customers claim they are satisfied and 40% are dissatisfied.

Value Customer's Time

Customers clearly value their time and expect the bank to do the same. Overall, 85% of customers believe representatives value their time. When their time is valued, 79% of customers are satisfied with their experience and 3% are dissatisfied. When customers feel their time is not valued, only 20% are satisfied and 33% are dissatisfied (a 10 times increase in dissatisfied customers). It is hard to recover from an unacceptable wait time. When the wait time is acceptable, 77% of customers are satisfied with their overall experience and 4% are dissatisfied. When wait time is not acceptable, 24% are satisfied and 31% are dissatisfied with the service received.


Friendly representatives lead to satisfied customers. When the representative was friendly, 77% of customers were satisfied and only 4% dissatisfied, resulting in a net score of 73%. When the representative was not friendly, the net score dropped 90 points to -17%, with 19% of customers satisfied and 36% dissatisfied. How do representatives show they are friendly? Simply thanking the customer for their business is vital. The net satisfaction score is 73% when the customer is thanked, but drops to 5% when they are not thanked. Seventy-six percent of customers were satisfied and 4% dissatisfied when the representative asked 'Is there anything else I can help you with?' When the question was not asked, only 38% were satisfied and 28% dissatisfied. Other factors that show 'friendliness' and drive satisfaction include the call center representative introducing himself/herself by name, and using the customer’s name. A more personalized experience leads to higher satisfaction.


Of course, all the behaviors must be genuine. Eighty-seven percent of customers claimed the representative was genuinely interested in helping them. When this occurred, 81% of customers were satisfied with the experience and 2% were dissatisfied. When they felt the representative was not genuinely interested in helping, 18% of customers were satisfied and 35% dissatisfied. The difference in the net score of 96 points shows that it is not enough to go through the motions. Customers must feel that bankers care about their business and are genuinely interested in helping them.


By focusing on the emotional connection between representative and customer, banks of any size can gain a competitive advantage.  Training, coaching and measurement are the keys to consistently delivering a superior client experience.


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