2024 Vertical Market Case Studies: Speech Technology in Financial Services

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Premier Bankcard is not like most other financial services firms. Second chances are its first priority, helping individuals build credit for the first time or rebuild less-than-perfect credit caused by past financial problems, job loss, divorce, and other factors.

Since its founding in 1989, the company, which is based in Sioux Falls, S.D., has become a trusted partner to more than 4 million customers nationwide. It is the nation’s 14th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards.

Credit cards issued to those with marginal credit standing usually involve more risk, finance charges and fees are usually much higher, and credit limits are usually much lower. Premier Bankcard tailors those lower, more manageable limits specifically to fit into each person’s budget.

Premier Bankcard, which is affiliated with First Premier Bank, also offers monthly account performance reporting, credit reports, and eligibility for credit limit increases after just 12 months of consistent, responsible account management.

Along with a second chance, Premier Bankcard also provides award-winning U.S.-based customer service. Its customer service operations are staffed by 400 agents at four South Dakota contact centers in Sioux Falls, Watertown, Huron, and Dakota Dunes. Those agents handle half a million live calls per month.

With that kind of call volume in an industry that is as heavily regulated as financial services, Premier Bankcard didn’t want to leave anything to chance. So to further support its operations, the company turned to Verint’s Customer Engagement Platform to track and improve its customer engagement efforts. It uses Verint Quality Management, Workforce Management, Performance Management, Knowledge Management, and Speech Analytics in its contact centers.

With the ability to leverage the Verint Da Vinci AI and Analytics-powered solution to harness millions of interactions, the customer experience and process innovation team is generating insights that are contributing to operating efficiencies and cost reduction. In turn, the solution is helping Premier Bankcard deliver a premier experience to its customers.

In particular, Premier Bankcard’s use of Verint Speech Analytics has grown. The company first deployed Verint Speech Analytics to support its English-speaking customer service team. It then expanded the solution to its Spanish-speaking customer service group, and then out to other departments, including collections and customer retention.

Always looking to improve the customer experience and journey, Premier Bankcard empowered its quality assurance reps and customer service agents to identify issues and areas of improvement with data from Verint Speech Analytics.

The company’s Customer Experience and Process Innovation Department and its Voice of the Customer Task Force actively apply the solution and resulting customer insights to drive continuous improvement in customer engagement.

Among the task force’s recommendations, operational changes have focused on reducing call volume and total cost to serve while improving customer satisfaction, retention, and first-contact resolution.

Predictive algorithms have helped Premier understand customer issues, the likelihood of the agent being able to resolve the issue on the first attempt, and the impact on customer satisfaction. This helps the company identify which agents and call types create the most friction.

Premier Bankcard’s line-level supervisors receive high- and low-performer comparisons exported from Verint Speech Analytics. They can identify where new employees struggle and create coaching moments using exemplary calls to help low performers understand how top performers handle challenging calls. By using actual calls to support these “teachable moments,” the company has seen quality scores improve across low-performers and new hires.

Powered by Verint Da Vinci AI & Analytics, Verint Speech Analytics and its robust data export functionality have also been critical in boosting customer experience metrics such as CSAT, reducing escalated calls, and improving handle time.

In one year, Premier Bankcard generated 52 recommendations for improvements from 11 call studies. This translated into nearly $500,000 worth of potential cost savings, as well as efficiencies resulting in a headcount reduction of nearly 10 full-time positions.

The effort also uncovered $65,000 in annual savings per team stemming from decreased handle time and $50,000 in annual savings through the elimination of a repetitive “end-of-call” phrase. Verint Speech Analytics discovered that agents were often repeating the phrase, “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” This not only lengthened average handle time but inadvertently annoyed customers.

“Verint Speech Analytics is helping the organization with ad hoc insights that are contributing to operating efficiencies and cost reduction,” says Nicole Garber, director of customer experience and process innovation at Premier Bankcard. “In turn, as part of our structured center of excellence approach, the solution is helping us deliver a premier experience to customers.”

That experience is award-winning. Premier Bankcard’s Customer Service team was recognized with multiple Stevie Awards this past April. They included a Gold Stevie and the People’s Choice for Customer Service Department of the Year. The Customer Service team was also recognized with a silver award for Customer Service Management Team of the Year.

This is the third year in a row that Premier Bankcard has been internationally recognized.

Verint Knowledge Management, meanwhile, helps Premier Bankcard assist customers with self-serve on its mobile app. With it, the company can have one centralized location across a range of departments, avoid duplicate information, and learn what customers are searching for and which trends are occurring. 

The Payoff

Since implementing Verint Speech Analytics, Premier Bankcard has seen the following results:

  • Identified nearly $500,000 in potential cost savings from 11 call studies yielding 52 performance improvement recommendations.
  • Found $65,000 annual savings per team stemming from decreased handle time.
  • Saved $50,000 annually through the elimination of a repetitive end-of-call phrase.

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