Knowledge: Case Studies

KBC Bank Ireland explains how its contact centre leaders are looking to collaboration and diversity to navigate the complex relationship between the high expectations it foresees for contact centre employees of the future, and the reality of them often being the most inexperienced staff.

KBC Bank Ireland, part of KBC Group, was set up 40 years ago to disrupt the banking industry with its innovative approach to customer service, and now leads the way in using digital tools for its banking. KBC Bank Ireland’s services are primarily digitalbased, although it does have several hubs scattered across the country to also provide the option of the in-person service experience.

Bob Stella, Operational Effectiveness Manager at KBC Bank Ireland, begins by introducing an issue many companies with contact centres face, which KBC has been working to overcome. Expectations are huge for our agents. We expect them to be skilled on every product; we expect them to know every process and be able to interact with customers through any channel. Yet, they are often the lowest paid, least experienced people in our companies,” he says. “If you want to maintain it being an entry-level job, which is likely, you can’t also expect people to be skilled at everything.”

He continues: “Companies try to keep training to a minimum, and you can’t have everything. You can’t have the shortest training and then produce people who are suddenly going from no experience to experienced and able to do everything really efficiently, in not only the technical skills but also the emotional intelligence we expect call centre agents to demonstrate. The customer-centricity; the awareness of vulnerable customers; the ability to identify someone who potentially has difficulties in understanding what you are explaining. This is an incredibly complex imbalance of expectations and there’s a bit of a conflict between where we’re pushing people towards and the reality they face.”

By Elizabeth Akass, Editor, Engage Business Media

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