Why the Telephone is so Expensive for Financial Services Processes

February 29, 2024
minutes read

Why the Telephone is so Expensive for Financial Services Processes

In the dynamic arena of financial services, the use of phone calls within contact centres introduces challenges that transcend mere conversation, delving into realms both costly and resource-intensive. Central to these challenges is the extended time required for managing inbound phone inquiries and outbound calls, casting a substantial impact on operational expenditures.

The Time Commitment Dilemma

Navigating the financial interaction landscape demands a substantial investment of time, particularly in the realm of handling phone-based inquiries. Inbound inquiries, averaging nearly four minutes, and outbound calls, stretching to approximately six minutes, underscore the significant time commitment inherent in these conversations. This prolonged duration not only distinguishes phone interactions from the rapid pace of digital communication channels but also paints a challenging picture.

The extended time spent on phone interactions highlights the inherent complexities woven into each conversation. Unlike the efficiency of some digital exchanges, phone conversations require a more extended engagement. This extended involvement accentuates not only the time-consuming nature but also amplifies the overall operational complexity, posing as a hurdle for streamlined and efficient customer service in financial institutions.

Peaks and Troughs in Phone Inquiry Volumes

The real-time nature of phone conversations introduces an element of unpredictability. Financial institutions must be prepared to cater to both peaks and troughs in phone inquiry volumes, creating a resource management conundrum. During high-demand periods, ensuring there are enough staff members to handle inquiries promptly becomes crucial. Conversely, during slower periods, maintaining excess staff to cover potential spikes in calls becomes an inefficient use of resources.

Balancing Act: Managing Staff Resources

The resource-intensive nature of phone-based inquiries necessitates a delicate balancing act. Financial institutions must strategically allocate staff to manage the ebb and flow of phone inquiries. This often involves forecasting demand, analysing historical data, and making real-time adjustments to ensure adequate support for clients. The challenge lies in striking the right balance to avoid overburdening staff during peak periods or having excess capacity during quieter times.

Strain on Operational Efficiency

Extended phone call durations not only strain human resources but also impact overall operational efficiency. The time spent on individual calls contributes to longer wait times for other clients, creating a cascading effect that can lead to customer dissatisfaction. In an era where instant gratification is the norm, resource-intensive phone inquiries may hinder financial institutions from meeting evolving customer expectations.

The Hidden Cost of Resource-Intensive Phone Inquiries

The resource-intensive nature of phone inquiries not only exerts immediate strain on staffing resources but also conceals a hidden cost in the form of opportunity loss. The substantial time and effort invested in managing phone-based interactions present an opportunity cost that financial institutions must acknowledge. This cost extends beyond the realms of immediate operational challenges, emphasising the need for a strategic shift. 

According to a recent report, the cost for staffing in a financial services contact centre accounts for 60% of total spend. This is an area that could be significantly reduced or redirected towards more efficient and scalable communication channels for streamlined operations and improved customer service.

Nivo Verified Identity Messaging – A Change for Financial Services Contact Centres 

In addressing the challenge of resource intensiveness, financial institutions are increasingly turning to technology to streamline inquiries, reduce call durations, and enhance overall operational efficiency. One platform that is changing the face of the financial services contact centre is Nivo’s Verified Identity Messaging (VIM)

VIM modernises regulated industries by providing a seamless communication platform for customer interaction and the efficient handling of data, documents, and evidence. Similar to popular instant messaging apps like SMS and WhatsApp, VIM ensures speed, ease, and convenience in compliance with strong financial crime controls. 

In today's world, where instant messaging is widely used, VIM integrates biometric identity verification and secure messaging to create an efficient communication channel. This integration eliminates the need for complex email chains and replaces traditional channels like telephone, offering a more secure and efficient alternative for all parties involved in the financial ecosystem.


The challenges stemming from the resource and cost intensiveness of phone-based processes in financial services are indeed multifaceted, encompassing issues ranging from extended call durations to intricate operational complexities. 

From extended call durations to operational complexities, it's evident that the traditional phone-centric approach is not suited for the dynamic demands of contact centres in this sector. The time commitment dilemma, peaks and troughs in phone inquiry volumes, and the strain on operational efficiency all highlight the urgent need for a strategic shift. Financial institutions must act now to save or reallocate resources and costs, fostering a more efficient and customer-centric approach. Innovative digital banking solutions like Nivo's Verified Identity Messaging provide a transformative alternative, signalling a necessary change for financial services contact centres.

To learn more about the challenges that phone is presenting to financial services firms, download our guide 10 Reasons Why Phone Communication is Destroying the Customer Experience and Staff Productivity in Financial Services.

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