*This article is produced in partnership with BT

Client satisfaction is important for the longevity of advice relationships and the success of advice businesses. As a wealth platform provider, it is our role to support advisers so they can provide the level of service that clients expect.

This article shines a light on some of the behind-the-scenes activities that enable exceptional service delivery – and how the combination of great service by people and technology are resulting in service improvements for our clients, financial advisers.

Financial advice professionals and their clients expect seamless customer support. Consumers increasingly prefer to interact with financial services providers through their mobiles, according to the Roy Morgan ‘Satisfaction with Banking Channels Report 2022’. They also expect information on the status of financial transactions or service requests to be accessible instantaneously. However, in the moments that matter, many still value and expect the human touch and a personalised service experience. Getting the balance right with making the most of technology while considering the importance of human connection is one of the key challenges for all contact centres – including BT’s.

Your feedback is a gift

Contact centres in general have earned a bad rap for keeping customers waiting for excruciatingly long periods, with only automated messages and elevator music on repeat to keep them company.

At BT our average speed of answer for each call is less than 30 seconds, while our rate of query resolution on the first contact is over 87 per cent. This means we respond quickly and correctly, the first-time people call.

With the largest number of adviser relationships in the market (according to Investment Trends ‘2023 Adviser Technology Needs Report’), our service culture is at the heart of what we do and technology is key to our success.

Our team were recently recognised at the Customer Service Institute of Australia’s awards, winning the award for Service Excellence in a Medium Contact Centre, up against market-leading businesses from other industries across Australia.

We do not take our leading position for granted. Valuable service is one of the key factors that drives adviser consideration of platform brands, according to BT brand tracking results from September 2023.

Our service culture is people-led, tech-enabled, and this informs our approach in improving our performance and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.

We always welcome and listen to feedback. This includes comments from advisers, support staff and clients, and insights from the extensive data we receive from various sources, internal and external, helping us define actionable insights to understand how and why advisers contact BT.

On BT’s platforms, there are around 340,000 customer accounts and $135 billion in funds under administration, as of the end of February 2024.

After every inbound phone call, we offer a survey to obtain a net promoter score (NPS) for the clients’ experience. We pay close attention to the responses, particularly those that result in a rating of less than three out of five. We welcome complaints from clients – as these indicate where we need to be better. For every call with an unsatisfactory score, we perform a ‘service recovery’ call, ensuring we understand the root cause for a less-than-desired service outcome, so we can put it right for the caller, and for future clients.

BT’s virtual assistant, Blue, is an intent recognition chatbot which uses machine learning, a subset of the broader category of artificial intelligence, to help improve its understanding of human questions. In the past financial year (1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023), Blue has had 110,000 conversation sessions with BT Panorama users, of which 51,000 interactions were with advisers and their support staff.

Through a process of text annotations, our team monitor how Blue is performing and continuously adapt responses to improve Blue’s ability to resolve queries.

A case in point

The numerous touchpoints that we have with advisers and clients provide performance and quality metrics that we collate and analyse to transform the service experience for our customers.

The scale of our data means our insights into adviser and client experiences are more likely to be accurate. We can be more responsive and prioritise updates to our service processes so that our resources are focused on changes that are most impactful.

A case in point is our service request tracker, which has been very popular with advisers. In the Investment Trends ‘2023 Adviser Technology Needs Report’, advisers identified the service request tracker as one of the most beneficial enhancements to our platform.

BT developed the service request tracker because a large percentage of phone calls we received from both advisers and their clients were status queries – in the 12 months to July 2022 we received 50,000 calls relating to status updates, representing over 15 per cent of all calls.

BT’s service request tracker, available 24/7 via the BT Panorama web portal and mobile app, gives advisers and clients real-time updates on the status of their request such as applications, deposits and contributions, rollovers, and transfers. Advisers and their teams have told us the time savings have been significant, with some reporting that for status updates on simple transactions they have saved around 10 minutes; and for more complex transactions, 25 minutes.

From July 2023 to January 2024, the number of page views on the service request tracker within BT Panorama ranged from 26,000 to 43,000 per month, and we have achieved a 50 per cent reduction in status-related calls to our contact centre. This year we plan to introduce even more features, which we have prioritised based on customer feedback.

What’s next

The scale of our service processes makes them ripe for improvement through technology, including further automation beyond our current capabilities. Increased efficiencies and reduced processing times will mean quicker turnaround times for our clients. Everyday queries can be resolved more efficiently and effectively, while our contact centre team and specialist teams like estate claims management and priority care (supporting vulnerable customers) will focus on handling moments that matter – queries that require complex analysis or need a more personalised experience.

We will continue to listen, gather insights, and remain people-led, tech-enabled. We welcome technology with open arms to improve our service, while keeping in mind the power of human connection.

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