Paris, London, Hong Kong. Back in Hong Kong after having spent several years in Europe, Bernice...
The banking jobs: Online bank associate
At the BNP Paribas customer relations platform in Lille, four teams of employees answer calls from customers all over France. When it comes to online banking services, remote representatives take on the key role of being the preferred contact for thousands of customers. Caroline Desbarbieux shares her passion for this job and explains the various ways in which customer service combines with an in-depth knowledge of the bank’s businesses.
Tell us about what you do at BNP Paribas.
Together with a team of 10 representatives, I provide remote support to the individual and professional customers who contact us to resolve routine banking issues—opening an account, international wire transfers, ordering checks, etc. We work to provide quality responses and point them to the right products and services if we identify new needs. We work across several channels (including chat and email), but most customers still prefer to call us. Customer satisfaction is always our main goal, whether they are BNP Paribas online banking customers, branch customers or Hello Bank! customers.
What is an ordinary day at the office for you?
My day always starts and ends with a team meeting with our team manager. It gives us a chance to talk as different assignments are handed out to each representative. It’s also a chance to share our experiences and interactions with customers. During these meetings, we also mention any particular instances requiring special treatment. Answering and managing calls makes up a large portion of my day. Most customers ask about using a feature of the website or a BNP Paribas app, adding a recipient for international wire transfers, increasing their credit limits, ordering checks, viewing account activity and opening savings accounts. They are relatively simple operations, but ones that still require a little help.
Our work environment is both hard working and relaxed, and we work in an open space. Along with three other teams of representatives, we meet every month for a local coordination meeting, where our operations director gives out an award to the winner of the monthly challenge. That could be for selling the most insurance policies, the best performance in terms of managing calls, and so on. It’s a great way to help us improve!
Our work environment is both hard working and relaxed, and we work in an open space.
What tool do you use the most in your job?
My telephone, of course! But also my computer, because we always have to review the customer’s account information. In fact, we are currently testing a new innovation on our platform—a sharing feature that lets us see the customer during the call. It’s helpful when discussing technical issues, or when customers need help navigating the site or apps in real time.
What made you want to do this job?
During my three years at business school, I worked as a seasonal employee at a BNP Paribas branch. With my business and management degree in hand, I wanted to continue on that path and continue to benefit from the professional and welcoming atmosphere at the Group. I’ve now worked as an online bank representative for one year. It’s a central part of customer relations and requires a strong sense of service, extensive knowledge of the bank’s products and services, and solid organizational skills.
What qualities does it take to excel at this role?
Even though the interactions are not in-person, you have to like connecting with customers, have a sense of service and strong relational skills. Listening and understanding customer needs is essential. It takes an excellent knowledge of the bank’s products and services and a strong command of new technologies. Finally, a knack for sales adds another dimension to the job and makes it more fun, from day to day.
Tell us a little about online banking.
This new way of accessing banking services took off about 10 years ago. Offering extended customer service hours, greater ease of use and more flexibility, online banking responds to new needs while delivering the same commercial offer as a classic bank.
Offering extended customer service hours, greater ease of use and more flexibility, online banking responds to new needs
Online banking primarily targets a young and active clientele who are accustomed to digital and frequently do not need to meet with a representative. Finally, these customers have several bank accounts and take advantage of this flexibility to access the best offers for each channel. Many online banking customers still visit their local branch to plan major financial projects and resolve routine banking issues. We get a lot of calls to schedule meetings with branch representatives.
Online bank associate Lille
" Have confidence in the six-week training program offered at the start of the job, because it’s informative and constructive. Be curious, involved and don’t hesitate to use all your social skills in your customer relations. Finally, remember that joining the customer relations center is an excellent career opportunity. Working as a representative will give you experience and credibility, two crucial assets for advancing your career. "
What is the biggest challenge you are facing at the moment?
As part of my related assignments, I take part in customer satisfaction projects aiming to turn ideas into high-value solutions. It’s a complex process that takes a lot of creativity! In addition, I also work with a coordinator to support a team of five newbies—the new arrivals to our customer relations service. My role is to introduce them to the job and guide their first calls with customers.
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