A seismic shift in customer demand has led to Bankwest overhauling its 24/7 contact centre – one of the largest based in WA – as it prioritises resources and investment to meet the rapid growth in digital conversations.
Digital conversations are fast becoming the channel of choice for many customers, with the volume of in-app digital chats having grown by more than 200 per cent over the past five years to about half a million each year.
Bankwest expects digital conversations to eventually account for as many as eight out of 10 customer queries but will ensure support from colleagues remains easily accessible for those preferring telephone conversations.
Bankwest’s first contact centre was established in the 1990s and handled 96,000 queries a year, with that volume now about 1.5 million a year, including 500,000 digital conversations via the Bankwest App or online banking.
Bankwest is responding to the shift by overhauling its Customer Engagement Centre, mobilising more colleagues for digital conversations, while investing in new systems and tools to automatically identify trends and issues.
The significant technology investment is designed to identify the nature of digital queries to help channel customers to the most appropriate colleagues, with speech-to-text software extracting rich data on key themes.
It is the latest of a series of major digital and broker investments, following the launch in May of the Bankwest Perth Tech Hub, a new Bankwest Home Buying Hub, and enhancements to the Bankwest App and Broker Portal.
Bankwest operates one of the largest contact centres in WA, with more than 300 colleagues supporting customers across Australia around the clock, including about 50 based in their local regional communities across the state.
Bankwest General Manager Retail Strategy Craig Moffat said: “Bankwest has been evolving to meet the changing needs of our customers for 128 years, and this shift reflects growing customer demand for digital contact options.
“The growth in digital conversations is staggering and we’re responding to this shift in customer preferences with a massive reskilling and retraining program, and prioritising technology investment to better support their needs.
“This is fundamentally changing our approach to meeting customer demand, by establishing a specially trained digital-first team to provide solutions to customers faster and in the channels they increasingly prefer to use.
“Digital transactions now account for 97 per cent of all transactions, and as more customers choose to do their banking via the Bankwest App or online, we’re committed to enhancing services to meet their expectations."