Exceptional Customer LOVE: Top Trends and Innovations in Remote Customer Service

Find out how an innovative approach to remote customer service is setting new standards at Belfius Bank, combining cutting-edge AI with a human touch


Ann Bouchet

Head Connect2Net (Salaried Network & Customer Remote Services and support)

How do you ensure a consistent and high-quality customer experience through your remote services channels?

Delivering a consistent and top-notch customer experience through remote service channels is a core focus across our organisation, embodying what we like to call “customer obsession”. The proof lies in our recent success: Belfius was honoured with Silver at the prestigious ECCCS Awards for “Best Customer Experience”. This recognition celebrates the dedication of our teams and our innovative Contact Centre model, reflecting our unwavering commitment to earning customer LOVE every single day. Such acclaim is invaluable for those who are truly passionate about making a positive impact on both customers and society at large.

At the heart of our approach is Customer LOVE, our driving force. We strive to forge strong connections with our customers, meeting their needs with empathy and professionalism while aiming to surpass their expectations.

Our customer experience revolves around two pivotal pillars.

  • Firstly, Accessibility is paramount. Our AI-powered Bot successfully assists customers in their interactions, swiftly transferring to a human colleague when needed. We ensure human accessibility through Calls, Chats, Emails, and Social Media, constantly monitoring incoming volumes and agent availability.
  • Secondly, Response Quality is a top priority. We view every interaction as an opportunity to nurture trust and foster loyalty. Each call and chat is meticulously recorded, with detailed logs totalling 1.870k cases in 2023 alone inbound (bot & human) interactions. These records facilitate comprehensive training and detailed analyses, driving continuous improvement efforts. Coaching initiatives, led by managers and through structured peer-to-peer sessions, further enhance our service quality.

What future trends do you see in remote banking services, and how is your team preparing to adapt to these changes?

We see several opportunities and challenges emerge from the current environment.

It’s imperative that we establish a clear positioning for our Contact Centre. Embracing technology, including the power of (Gen) AI, holds promise in enhancing customer experiences while driving down costs. Equally important is bolstering our Employee Value Proposition to attract and retain top talent.

Central to our strategy is defining the strategic positioning of our Contact Centre. In today’s customer-centric world, prioritising experience is paramount. Customer expectations have reached unprecedented heights, with demands pouring in from various channels. While there’s a growing appetite for digital self-service solutions, customers still seek assisted services for pertinent tasks.

Exploring potential use cases for (Gen) AI in our Contact Centre is crucial. AI’s capabilities are evolving rapidly, and generative AI technologies are saturating the market. This transformative force is reshaping the fundamentals of modern banking, presenting both opportunities and challenges.

Amidst this landscape, competition for talent intensifies, compounded by shifting workforce expectations. Therefore, nurturing a People Experience that prioritises the well-being and growth of our employees is instrumental in driving favourable business outcomes.

Managing a remote service team presents unique challenges. What management techniques have you found most effective?

Managing a remote service team indeed poses unique challenges, but employing effective management techniques can help navigate these hurdles seamlessly.

In my role overseeing Belfius’ salaried network and the Contact Centre, fostering communication is paramount. To cultivate an open and respectful communication culture within the organisation, I, along with the management team, host weekly remote talk sessions open to all 1,200 employees. We recently introduced also a monthly vlog to provide informal updates on current issues, further enhancing connectivity.

In the dynamic landscape of shifting customer expectations, prioritising well-being is also essential. Within the Contact Centre, we’ve established a dedicated well-being team. I also invest time and energy in supporting all Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, as a Contact Centre environment is a fantastic breeding ground to highlight the strengths of diverse teams.

Furthermore, providing continuous feedback and recognition is instrumental in keeping remote team members motivated and engaged. Regularly acknowledging their contributions and celebrating successes not only boosts morale but also nurtures a positive team culture, fostering collaboration and productivity.

By implementing these strategies, we can effectively keep in touch with what is going on and overcome the challenges of managing a remote service team while promoting a supportive and connected work environment.

Eager to find out more? You will have a chance to connect and strike up an engaging conversation with Ann at our 15th Annual Optimising Contact Centres Summit, 25 – 26 September 2024, Vienna!

Furthermore, listen to her insightful case study: “A Contact Centre (R)evolution: Embracing Change & Technology, Empowering Love”.

Short Speaker BIO:

Ann Bouchet is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience in the banking industry, having held leading positions in both the HR department and the branch network. Currently, she is in charge of the branch network and the Contact Centre “Belfius Connect”, where she makes the LOVE tangible for our customers every day.

Renowned for her innovative thinking, working alongside Ann is always dynamic and stimulating, as she firmly believes in finding solutions for every challenge. A woman of formidable determination, she adeptly holds her own in any situation.