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Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone

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According to US customer service consultancy, Sharpen, Americans waste a collective 900 million hours on hold every year, with the average person spending 43 days on hold over the course of their life.

Customers, apparently have an average patience threshold of 2 minutes and shortly after that their blood begins to boil. That sounds about right to me.

And of course, there’s lots of advice and strategies out there for helping companies manage their communications, reduce waiting time and keep their customers sweet. And here’s some advice for free - that definitely doesn’t doesn’t mean a voice recording telling me to 'press 1 for frustration' or a string of robo-clichés telling us how important our call is.

I was thinking about this earlier in the week (and yes I was holding on the phone at the time). The reason people get so mad on hold is because they simply want to talk to a person. They want to tell their story, discuss a solution and get it all sorted out.

There’s no doubt we are living in exciting times for AI and platform development but we need to remember that in many areas of our lives human interface, human knowledge and  human chat and experience is more important than ever.

Richie talked about the 'hybridisation of working at home, on the move and in the office' last week. I believe we also need to think about the 'hybridisation of technology and human interface' and how we create a model that gets the balance right for our financial adviser customers.

Our Visible Capital platform is deliberately not pure fintech. It’s a hybrid model that has been designed to digitise all the everyday data aggregation tasks and to deliver an unrivalled set of enriched, enhanced data to the financial adviser’s PC. The sometimes  heart sinking, soul destroying task of assimilating names, dates of birth, national insurance numbers, assets and investments is all done within seconds by our software. And there’s very little room for error. Our digitised fact finds are populated by the customer and the accuracy level is virtually error free.

The beauty of this is that it leaves the adviser free to do what advisers do best - use their experience of investments and returns and their understanding of human nature, to provide bespoke financial advice for a particular individual at a particular time of their life.

As Ian McKenna, fintech guru, columnist and financial services futurist, told us recently*: 'Clients don’t want to sit and answer 101 questions from you before you can give them something meaningful. They came to you for advice, not to answer 101 questions.'

We couldn’t agree more Ian. Customers are clearly warming to the hybrid model, happy to let technology do the fact find, number crunching grind so that they can get down to the real business of talking face to face with their financial adviser. Visible Capital’s on-boarding technology helps reduce the number of questions by automating the onerous data collation work so the adviser can ask the key important questions.

Debbie Harry sang, in her inimitable way, back in the 70s that she didn’t want to be left Hanging on the Telephone. People clearly still feel the same way. But she also said 'If I don’t get your calls, then everything goes wrong'. Perhaps that’s something we have to think about too - making sure that a hybrid model of technology and human interface, allows financial advisers to have time to talk. So that everything goes right.

by Christian Burgin CPO, Visible Capital

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