Carl Helling, Regional Director, Financial Services, UK & Ireland at Riverbed Technology
In recent years, retail banks have found themselves at the cutting edge of technology. With customers expecting digital services at their fingertips, there is a universal expectancy for a high level of efficiency in their customer engagement. However, it is no longer just the city-slickers that expect a tech-centric approach to customer service, customers from all regions of the country have a high level of expectations.
The technological upkeep of financial services are so pivotal to the regular consumer’s day-to-day life. During daily digital interactions, if high street banks are found to be wanting in the tech department, they will quickly find themselves losing valuable customers.
This can be a headache for technology stakeholders in financial organisations, who have limited resources to invest in the more rural locations. For this reason, financial institutions must re-evaluate their entire approach to infrastructure visibility, to ensure all branches are providing a sufficient level of service across the board.
The Countryside Divide
It’s common to find branches in Central London delivering a seamless digital offering for customers, featuring the full roster of tablets and Direct Banking Booths (DBB) to streamline the customer experience. This frees up time for staff to perform the high value, face-to-face services such as mortgage applications and account management.
While this is often delivered in the bigger, city based high street branches, there is still an issue with consistency, with many smaller communities losing out on the same level of technological advancements in their smaller high street locations. In contrast, a branch located in a small village in West Sussex, with much lower funding, is not able to provide the same digital experience.
This failure to apply the same benefits at a regional level instantly damages customer satisfaction of those who expect the tech-driven approach offered by the lead branches, as well as making it harder for the employers working in those branches in terms of productivity levels and efficiency.
Realistically, it would be impossible for banks to offer the high investment of all singing, all dancing tech driven branches across the retail network. However, by making simple changes, the benefits of widespread digital transformation can be uncovered. After all, these branches constitute a significant proportion of annual revenue — simply ignoring them is not an option.
The Visibility Solution
Visibility of customer and employee experience across all digital channels within branch, partnered with hyper converged infrastructure holds the key. By making tweaks to your IT estate, branches further away from central headquarters and the core data centre will be able to deliver the same applications and services to their customers. Not only does this mean instant provisioning of resource to meet customer demand, it also ensures full visibility over performance.
Ultimately, without making a huge investment, banks can ensure that their smaller branches and their customers are not neglected. The key thing to consider is that incremental changes can have a huge impact to digital performance. This is a vital factor, as most banks have already invested in their IT portfolio to the point that it is perfectly capable of delivering the results required.
However, many businesses are beginning to realise that multiple flash investments aren’t guaranteed to deliver the service utopia they are pursuing. By making the right tweaks in the right areas, customer experience can be transformed. However for this to happen, there must be complete visibility of the IT estate. In this way, without making a huge investment, banks can ensure that their smaller branches and their customers are not neglected.