Digitizing customer contact
Early in the pandemic, call volumes skyrocketed as customers contacted auto finance companies with concerns about everything from rates to repayment to repossession. Meanwhile, auto finance companies had to simultaneously adjust on-premise staffing levels to protect employee health and hurriedly construct work-from-home infrastructure. Based on our observations, these combined factors meant that call waiting times for customers initially increased to up to an hour. Auto finance companies' early responses worked well. They addressed inquiries with digital solutions (such as live auto-chat), redeployed back-office staff to their call centers, and engaged third-party providers to offer surge support. This helped solve simple problems more quickly and enabled seasoned agents to handle trickier issues. But these emergency responses also offer a playbook for a more efficient future that can strengthen auto finance companies' business models.
Firstly, increased use of digital technologies in the back office (for example, robotic process automation to perform rote tasks, such as processing customer identification details) and in the online storefront (such as self-serve platforms) will aid with volume volatility, which we expect to continue for some time to come. Digital will also deliver reduced operating costs and more rapidly serve customers who, increasingly, have more power and more choice.
Second, new volume forecasting models powered by sophisticated analytics will help auto finance companies better predict – and prepare for – future fluctuations in customer contact.
Finally, auto finance companies have learned that cloud is the foundation upon which they can build true digital transformation. Exceptional and innovative customer and employee experiences – backed by AI, analytics, and automation – cannot be realized at speed and scale without it. Building a strong cloud foundation now will pay off long into the future.