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AVOKA TRANSACT 4.1 ENHANCES DIGITAL SALES & SERVICE EXPERIENCES FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GOVERNMENT

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Avoka, the customer experience management company specializing in multi-channel engagement applications, has revealed new functionality available with Avoka Transact 4.1. The updated solution provides enhanced digital channel sales and service transactions combined with A/B testing and analytics to drive continuous improvement in multi-channel customer experience and conversion for financial services and government organizations.

“Avoka Transact was developed to provide unmatched agility to transform legacy forms into multi-channel engagement applications that enhance the customer experience and drive sales. Version 4.1 builds on our already solid platform to create a convenient, easy-to-use and mobile-friendly application process for new and existing customers that reduces application abandonment and increases sales conversion rates,” said Philip Copeland, CEO for Avoka. “One financial service customer used the analytics capabilities to improve conversion rates on loan applications by 43%. Another banking client with over $600 billion in funds under management began using our new eSignature capability to eliminate 300 paper ‘fill & sign’ forms with engaging iPad experiences for customers. We are confident the new functionality in Avoka Transact 4.1 will allow us to deliver further on our mission as we see increased demand from financial and public sector organizations worldwide looking to improve the digital experience for their customers.”

Key features and benefits of Avoka Transact 4.1 include:

• Customer Engagement Applications: Avoka Transact 4.1 drives the user experience to the next level, enabling businesses to create highly-engaging customer transaction applications that traditionally could only be built over several weeks or months as custom web applications by expensive web developers. Months of team development now becomes days for an individual with new out-of-the-box Maguire 2.0 Templates that do not require extensive development experience to create an engaging web application. Customer engagement application capabilities include a unified navigation experience, pop-up dialogs, in-form file attachments, responsive signatures, in-build save and resume, in-form confirmation pages and more, which businesses use to create an engaging experience that drives greater customer acquisition.

• Conversion Optimization: New analytics capabilities that allow Avoka clients to more easily analyze customer behavior, including abandonment, with a view to rapidly identify and test incremental improvements to optimize conversion. Avoka Transact 4.1 also includes the ability to have two slightly different versions of an engagement application, such as a credit card application, for A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of each. This takes the benefit of A/B testing beyond the realm of marketing and into real, measureable sales and service transaction experiences. Avoka Transact’s unique real-time analytics capabilities enable businesses to rapidly improve sales and service transactions for increased conversion rates.

• Agility: Easy-to-complete applications with enhancements including pre-built integrations with customer relationship management (CRM), electronic identity verification, social networks for profile auto-populate and a new attachment modelthat allows users to upload supporting documentation or images exactly where they’re needed in the application experience. An improved scribble signature that closely mimics the look and feel of ink on paper. Task claiming that improves coordination across team members and allows even the most complex collaboration to be clear and effective. An updated Avoka TransactField App that delivers enhanced Microsoft Windows 7 support (in addition to the existing Windows 8.1, iOS and Android versions) with upgraded synching and image resizing for greater reliability and speed. Hundreds of improvements across the platform make Avoka Transact 4.1 our best release ever.

Avoka Transact delivers a sophisticated digital engagement platform with responsive design, collaboration capability, built-in analytics and integrations that create an unparalleled and dynamic customer transaction experience with the agility needed to meet modern customer demands. The solution makes it easy for financial service institutions and government organizations looking to grow and retain customers / users across multiple digital channels to create more engaging interactions related to bank accounts, credit applications, licenses and permits anywhere, anytime and via any device.

About Avoka

Avoka transforms legacy paper, PDF & web forms into multi-channel engagement applications for credit cards, personal loans and government services that deliver seamless customer transaction experiences that increase sales, enhance the account application experience and drive customer acquisition and engagement rates for financial and government organizations. Customers gain competitive advantage and embrace the movement to digital through responsive design, data collection and analysis, integration with systems of record and the business agility modern customers’ demand. Avoka delivers a proven track record with financial services and government organizations including more than 12 years managing digital sales and service transactions, over 16,000 sales and service transaction projects completed and upward of 100 million global business-critical customer transactions completed each year. Avoka has offices in Broomfield, CO and Manly, Australia. Visit us athttp://www.avoka.com/.

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Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite

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Spain's jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite 1

By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño

MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.

Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.

That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.

“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.

Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.

A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.

Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.

“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.

Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.

Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.

The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)

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Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains

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Pandemic 'shecession' reverses women's workplace gains 2

By Anuradha Nagaraj

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.

Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.

Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.

Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.

“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.

“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”

The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.

Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.

Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office

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German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit - Stats Office 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.

In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.

“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.

In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.

Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)

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