Ideas & musings about consumer behaviour

Australian Banks pushing mortgage application prospects from WEB to contact centres – but can they handle it?

Australian banks are moving away from online mortgage applications – six of nine big players have recently dropped this capability from their websites – and are instead encouraging customers to use other channels. Given this strategy will inevitably lead to more mortgage applications being taken via contact centres, it’s a great time to take a closer look at how effective banks are at encouraging customers to purchase via this channel.

Global Reviews’ most recent contact centre sales effectiveness benchmark results paint a picture of an industry where consultants provide a reactive and transactional service that does little to differentiate one organisation from another. Consultants rarely go beyond answering customers’ questions, filling out the application and providing general information. During two thirds of all calls – and even when the customer has delivered positive buying signals throughout – consultants fail to ask for the sale.

You might think that this is still better than what a website can offer if the consultant delivers an engaging and personable experience. However the Global Reviews benchmark shows that the industry also struggles to build rapport and connect with the customer on a personal level. As an example, two in five consultants don’t even address the customer by name.

It stands to reason that one of the most important steps in closing a sale is to ask for it. As we found, most banks fail to deliver an invitation to the customer to commit to the product – effectively expressing their indifference to securing the customer’s business. Considering the average life of a mortgage, this represents a huge loss.

Many contact centre agents will avoid asking for the sale for fear of an objection. Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to receive what you don’t ask for – especially in such a competitive industry. Those staff that are best at closing the sale are usually the same who have built rapport with the customer throughout the conversation; made a solid effort to get to understand their unique situation, and have offered the customer a solution that meets their needs. A strongly-worded worded question, delivered in a genuine way, will build the customer’s confidence that the bank stands by its own products and values their business. The customer will then be far more receptive to the sales close.

So, how to gain mortgage customers? Leverage the unique value proposition of the contact centre.

For further details, and to see which banks made it to the Top 3, download our free report here.

Leonardo Arantes
Commercial Director
Ph: 03 9982 3416 / 0429 347 637
E: leonardo.arantes@globalreviews.com

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