By Monica Hovsepian, head of worldwide FSI strategy at OpenText
It’s an understatement to say the pandemic has forced permanent changes in the way we work and live. The sudden transition to remote work forced businesses to re-evaluate their digital infrastructure and further invest in digital transformation journeys. Yet, this isn’t to say organisations hadn’t begun implementing innovative technology prior to March 2020. In fact, more than half of businesses used cloud computing in 2019 compared to just 42 per cent in 2018. Instead, organisations were looking to change their core business model with over one-third wanting to speed up automation.
With employees working remotely in 2021, whether it be due to government restrictions or a hybrid work environment, automation became the key to unlocking excellent customer service by offering digital services in the financial services industry. As we enter 2022, automation will remain pivotal for the sector, but organisations must digitise internally before making it a successful offering for their customers.
For automation to be successful, organisations must approach its capability through a 360-degree view across their business. Once it is set in place, this can lead to optimal employee engagement, exceptional customer experience and improvement in operational efficiencies.
Investing in employee engagement and skillsets
Ensuring employees have the tools to engage, serve customers and conduct their day-to-day jobs is critical. According to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee, industry specific technical skills are a top priority in recruiting employees in the financial services industry. While this is caused by the technological shift in the sector, FSIs must ensure they are optimizing and automating processes across the enterprise in order to engage with their employees and customers.
One example of automation means more customer data is to be collected, analysed and utilized, compliantly and securely – with consent. With data analysis rated as the fourth most important skill for the sector, organisations must provide enough insights into consumer habits and behaviours for employees to deliver optimal engagements every time.
While the benefits of automation are many, it is important for organisations to invest in employee engagement and training on the relevant skillsets. In fact, research from OpenText shows customers are preferring both in-person experiences and online interactions with their banks. This means, by leveraging technology, such as AI, banks can integrate physical and digital services, opening the door for employees to utilise their skillsets in other areas.
Delivering optimal customer experiences
While the aforementioned OpenText research reveals customer experience has remained a top priority for the financial services industry for the past five years, the importance of delivering an excellent experience has increased due to technology embedded into customers’ everyday lives.
Today’s customers demand and expect exceptional service from everyone they engage with. This means allowing customers to engage when they want to, where they want to, and through the channel they choose – seamlessly and consistently.
The only way for the sector to gain insight into consumer habits and behaviours is through automation and the use of data. Once that occurs, banks can enable personalised services with a better understanding of consumers’ wants and needs throughout their entire customer lifecycle.
Delivering optimal customer experience does not solely depend on automation or front line customer service agents, it’s a combination of the two and how they’re used to complement each other. This idea comes back to the financial sector’s ability to humanise the digital experience through personalised recommendations to employees during customer interactions.