Connect with us

Top Stories

CUMBERLAND BUILDING SOCIETY LAUNCHES ONLINE APPOINTMENTS WITH NCR AND Q-FLOW

Published

on

CUMBERLAND BUILDING SOCIETY LAUNCHES ONLINE APPOINTMENTS WITH NCR AND Q-FLOW

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), a global leader in omni-channel solutions, today announced it is continuing to support Cumberland Building Society’s digital strategy with the launch of Cumberland’s new online appointment booking service, powered by Q-Flow enterprise software solution, which was delivered through NCR’s strategic partnership with Q-nomy.

The new system is part of Cumberland’s wider omni-channel strategy, integrating the diaries of the society’s branch advisors with multiple customer appointment booking touchpoints. This new booking system enables customers and potential customers to schedule branch or telephone appointments for any type of product, such as mortgage, current account or savings, directly from a mobile, tablet or PC. The system provides customers with available appointments at a range of branches. While customers benefit from this visibility, it also optimises the branch team’s daily activity, leading to enhanced productivity.

“Online appointment booking is a key step in our digital strategy,” said Chris McDonald, Cumberland Building Society’s Operations and HR Director comments. “With an increasing number of customers beginning their search on-line, and at a time which suits them, it is important that those customers are able to move seamlessly from a digital to a non-digital environment. Why should you have to wait until 8am the following morning to book an appointment or request a telephone interview? The new system is incredibly easy to use and it is already showing major impacts in terms of our customer experience and appointment requests.”

The Q-Flow system went live in September 2016, replacing a system of manual appointment bookings that was only accessible until 8pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends. During the system’s first month, a third of appointments were booked outside of its branch and contact team opening hours. 80 per cent of these bookings have been for mortgage enquiries.

The Q-Flow system also allows customers to request valuation appointments through Cumberland Estate Agents and uses a geo-locator facility to optimise the travelling time between appointments.

“Financial institutions today face the challenge of improving the customer journey while at the same time optimising operational efficiencies and business process,” said Simon Ronald, Vice President Global Business Development at Q-nomy Inc. “Together with NCR we combine our strengths to enable customers to deliver a true omni-channel experience where customer and the organization are always in sync. This omni-channel vision has proved a valuable element of Cumberland’s transformation strategy.”

Q-nomy works with NCR to deliver integrated software solutions to financial institutions around the world. Q-nomy’s solutions integrate with NCR’s branch transformation and CxBanking solutions to improve the customer experience and increase profitability for banks and building societies like the Cumberland.

Rachel Nash, Director Financial Services at NCR Ltd in the UK concludes: “For Cumberland, this is a major step into omni-channel banking and transforming the society’s customer experience. It is, however, just the beginning of the potential advantages that digital transformation can bring. This can range from adding telepresence to enabling complete meetings to be arranged and performed remotely, to document scanning that can further expand the possible pre-staging that can be done without a physical meeting. Cumberland’s own digital transformation will be exciting to see, and we look forward to helping to support it on every step of the journey.”

Top Stories

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19

Published

on

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 1

Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting to remote and virtual work, implementing new ways of working and redirecting the workforce on critical activities. According to Deloitte’s 10th annual 2020 Middle East Human Capital Trends report, “The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward,” organizations now need to think about how to sustain these actions by embedding them into their organizational culture.

“COVID-19 has created a clarifying moment for work and the workforce. Organizations that expand their focus on worker well-being, from programs adjacent to work to designing well-being into the work itself, will help their workers not only feel their best but perform at their best. Doing so will strengthen the tie between well-being and organizational outcomes, drive meaningful work, and foster a greater sense of belonging overall,” said Ghassan Turqieh, Consulting Partner, Human Capital, Deloitte Middle East.

According to the Deloitte report, many organizations in the Middle East made quick arrangements to engage with employees in the wake of the pandemic through frequent communications, multiple webinars where senior leaders addressed employee concerns, virtual employee events, manager check-ins, periodic calls and other targeted interactions with the workforce.

The report also discussed how UAE and KSA governments have reexamined work policies and practices, amended regulations and introduced COVID-19 initiatives to support companies and the workforce in the public and private sectors. Flexible and remote working, team-building and engagement activities, well-ness programs, recognition awards and modern workspaces are among the many things that are now adding to the employee experience.

Key findings from the Deloitte global report include:

  • Only 17% of respondents are making significant investments in reskilling to support their AI strategy with only 12% using AI primarily to replace workers;
  • 27% of respondents have clear policies and practices to manage the ethical challenges resulting from the future of work despite 85% of respondents saying the future of work raises ethical challenges;
  • Three-quarters of leaders are expecting to source new skills and capabilities through reskilling, but only 45% are rewarding workers for the development of new skills; and
  • Only 45% of respondents are prepared or very prepared to take advantage of the alternative workforce to access key capabilities despite gig workers being likely to comprise 43% of the U.S. workforce this year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Worker well-being is a top priority today, and similarly to the rest of the world, companies in the Middle East are focusing their efforts to redesign work around well-being by understanding workforce well-being needs,” said Rania Abu Shukur, Director, Human Capital, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East.

Continue Reading

Top Stories

One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows

Published

on

One in five insurance customers saw an improvement in customer service over lockdown, research shows 2

SAS research reveals that insurers improved their customer experience during lockdown

One in five insurance customers noted an improvement in their customer experience over lockdown, according to research conducted by SAS, the leader in analytics. This far outweighed the 11% of customers who felt it had deteriorated over the same period.

This is positive news for insurers during such challenging times, with 59% of customers also saying that they would pay more to buy or use products and services from any company that provided them with a good customer experience over lockdown.

The improvement in customer experience also coincides with a rise in the number of digital customers. Since the pandemic started, the number of insurance customers using a digital service or app has grown by 10%. Three-fifths (60%) of new users plan to continue using these digital services moving forward.

However, while the number of digital users grew over lockdown, half of the insurance customer base has not yet chosen to move to digital insurance apps or services.

Paul Ridge, Head of Insurance at SAS UK & Ireland, said:

“It’s impressive that there was a net improvement in customer experience during lockdown, despite the challenges the industry was facing with a transition to remote working and increased claims for things like cancelled holidays. While many were forced to wait on customer help lines for long periods, part of the improvement may be explained by even a small (10%) increase in the number of digital users.

“However, it’s clear that a huge number of customers are still yet to make the move online. It’s vital that insurers provide the most accurate, timely and relevant offerings to customers, and this is best achieved by having additional insight into online customer journeys so they can understand them better. Using analytics and AI, insurers can seize this opportunity to digitalise their customer experience and offer a more personalised approach.”

Meanwhile, for insurers that fail to offer a consistently satisfactory customer experience, the price could be severe. A third (33%) of customers claimed that they would ditch a company after just one poor experience. This number jumps to 90% for between one and five poor examples of customer service.

For more insight into how other industries across EMEA performed during lockdown, download the full report: Experience 2030: Has COVID-19 created a new kind of customer? 

Continue Reading

Top Stories

The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene?

Published

on

The power of superstar firms amid the pandemic: should regulators intervene? 3

By Professor Anton Korinek, Darden School of Business and Research Associate at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute. Gosia Glinska, associate director of research impact, Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Darden School of Business

Recent news that Apple hit a market cap of USD2 trillion highlights an extraordinary success story: A once struggling computer-maker on the verge of bankruptcy innovates its way to becoming the most valuable publicly traded company in the United States.

Apple’s 13-figure valuation is indicative of a larger trend that is not entirely benign — the rise of a handful of superstar firms that dominate the economy. Over the past three decades, advances in information technology, mainly the Internet, have supercharged the superstar phenomenon, allowing a small number of entrepreneurs and firms to serve a large market and reap outsize rewards. And COVID-19 has greatly accelerated the phenomenon by pushing us all into a more virtual world.

Apple — along with Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Netflix — is a case in point. The combined market value of those six companies exceeds USD7 trillion, which accounts for more than a quarter of the entire S&P 500 index. Even amid the pandemic’s economic wreckage, these megacompanies continue to prosper. The combined share price for Apple and its five peers was up more than 43 percent this year, while the rest of the companies in the S&P 500 collectively lost about 4 percent.[1]

Superstar firms can be found in almost every sector of the economy, including tech, management, finance, sports and the music industry. They command increasing market power, which has consequences for technological, social and economic progress. It is, therefore, critical to understand how their advantages arose in the first place.

THE FORCES BEHIND THE SUPERSTAR PHENOMENON

The “economics of superstars” was first studied by the late University of Chicago economist Sherwin Rosen. Forty years ago, Rosen argued that certain new technologies would significantly enhance the productivity of talented workers, enabling superstars in any industry to greatly expand the scope of their market, while reducing market opportunities for everyone else.[2] Digital innovations, including advances in the collection, processing and transmission of information, is what Rosen envisioned would lead to the superstar phenomenon.

Digital technologies are information goods, which are different from the traditional, physical goods in the economy. What it means is that fundamentally different economic considerations apply. Unlike physical goods — a loaf of bread or a car — information goods have two key properties: They are non-rival and excludable. Non-rival means that something can be used without being used up. Excludability means that an owner of digital innovation can prevent others from using it, by protecting it with patents, for example. These two fundamental properties of information goods are what give rise to the superstar phenomenon.

In a working paper I co-authored with Professor Ding Xuan Ng at Johns Hopkins University[3], we described superstars as arising from digital innovations that require upfront fixed costs that allow firms to reduce the marginal costs of serving additional customers.[4] For example, once an online travel agency has programmed its website at a fixed cost, it can easily displace thousands of traditional travel agents without much additional effort, scaling at near-zero cost.

Because a firm can exclude others from using its digital innovation, it automatically gains market power. The innovator then uses that power to charge a mark-up and earn a monopoly rent — basically, a price superstars charge in excess of what it costs them to provide the good — which we call the ‘superstar profit share’.

THE POLICYMAKER’S DILEMMA

In a vibrant free market economy, businesses compete for customers by innovating and improving their offerings while keeping prices low; otherwise, they are displaced by more innovative rivals entering the market. Unfortunately, the increasing monopolization of the economy by technology superstars is weakening the competitive environment around the world.

Monopoly power is the main inefficiency from the emergence of superstar firms, because superstars can exclude others from using the innovation that they have developed.

So, what policy measures can be employed to mitigate the inefficiencies arising from the superstar phenomenon?

We do have antitrust policies designed to promote competition and hence economic efficiency. Authorities could take a drastic measure and break up monopolies. Or they could tax all those excess profits megacompanies make.

Another policy to consider involves giving consumers control rights over their data. Right now, only companies have that data, and they are selling it. If you free it up and don’t allow them to sell it anymore, it reduces their monopoly profits. And if you give consumers more freedom over their data, they could, for example, share it with the latest start-up and create a more competitive landscape.

However, such policy remedies can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they reduce monopoly rents. On the other hand, they can also reduce innovation.

Innovation requires investments in R&D, which represent a significant sunk cost that only large firms can afford. Government regulations can easily backfire, discouraging large firms from making long-term R&D investments.

What, then, is the best policy intervention? Professor Ding Xuan Ng and I believe that basic research should be public. Digital innovations should be financed by public investments and should be provided as free public goods to all. This would make the superstar phenomenon disappear, and the effects of digital innovation would simply show up as productivity increases.[5]

We live in a brave new world that is increasingly based on information. Because the information economy is different from the traditional economy, antitrust policy should be revamped to reflect that. Instead of worrying about the economy being eaten up by these gigantic monopolies, policymakers need to focus on the question ‘What specific actions can we pursue to make the economy more competitive and efficient?’

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2020
2020 Global Banking & Finance Awards now open. Click Here

Latest Articles

The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency 4 The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency 5
Technology51 mins ago

The case for AI technology adoption in financial back-office roles to improve efficiency

By Tomas Gogar, AI CEO, Rossum In this era, digital transformation isn’t anything new. Nonetheless, it can still cause a...

Gain financial regulation qualification online 6 Gain financial regulation qualification online 7
Finance1 hour ago

Gain financial regulation qualification online

Gain financial regulation qualification online   Warwick Business School in partnership with the Bank of England are delighted to offer...

COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme 9 COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme 10
Finance6 hours ago

COVID-19: Dealing with fraudulent applications for the Bounce Back Loan Scheme

By Ed Lloyd, EVP Global Head of Sales, Encompass The COVID-19 pandemic is still having a devastating impact on businesses...

EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection 11 EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection 12
Business6 hours ago

EU Commission sets out new intellectual property action plan affecting SEPs, patent pooling and EU design protection

By Andrew White, Partner and UK & European patent attorney at intellectual property firm, Mathys & Squire The EU Commission...

InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry 13 InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry 14
Technology7 hours ago

InsurTech is helping to drive the digital evolution of the UK motor retail industry

By Alan Inskip, Tempcover CEO & Founder If the last nine months have made anything clear, it is that the...

Five ways enterprises are using the public cloud 15 Five ways enterprises are using the public cloud 16
Technology7 hours ago

Five ways enterprises are using the public cloud

By Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino The public cloud is the most significant enabler in a generation. It’s causing a...

Another ‘new normal’? Five challenges CTOs will face in 2021 17 Another ‘new normal’? Five challenges CTOs will face in 2021 18
Technology7 hours ago

Another ‘new normal’? Five challenges CTOs will face in 2021

By Amit Dattani, Director of Technology at Conosco We’re one year into the new decade, and arguably technology has guided...

An inside look at how both the global pandemic and the March and November 5th National Lockdowns are affecting mental health within the workforce 19 An inside look at how both the global pandemic and the March and November 5th National Lockdowns are affecting mental health within the workforce 20
Interviews8 hours ago

An inside look at how both the global pandemic and the March and November 5th National Lockdowns are affecting mental health within the workforce

By Lianne Harrington, Director SMP Healthcare Ltd     Part One: Real life insights into the deteriorating mental health of three employees...

Data Unions, fisherfolk and DeFi 21 Data Unions, fisherfolk and DeFi 22
Finance19 hours ago

Data Unions, fisherfolk and DeFi

By Ruby Short, Streamr In the fintech world it seems every month there’s a new trend or terminology to get...

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 23 Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 24
Top Stories19 hours ago

Deloitte: Middle East organizations need to rethink their workforce in the wake of COVID-19

Organizations in the Middle East have had to take immediate actions in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now