by Carl Helling, Regional Director, Financial Services, UK & Ireland at Riverbed Technology
The experience of visiting your high street bank will have undoubtedly changed quite dramatically in the last few years. One of the most notable differences being who greets you when you enter the bank. Nowadays in popular high street branches, you’re more likely to be faced with an iPad or self-service pod, than a row of human cashiers – a direct reflection of the huge technological leaps forward that financial services organisations have made in recent years.
The frequency in which you visit your bank may have also changed, with many people utilising online banking to perform day-to-day transactions. Customers still want a fast and reliable service, but with this movement towards online banking, the role of the high street bank has shifted. The evolution from ATMs to fingerprint payments has been a swift one, and massive strides have been made in both customer experience and internal efficiency. The automation of many low-value, high-frequency transactions, like cash deposits and transfers, has freed up time for banking staff to focus their attention on the more time intensive, face-to-face, interactions that hold a higher value, such as mortgage or loan applications.
However, not every customer is convinced that the automation of processes will make their life easier. For every tablet that allows a customer to breeze through their banking tasks, there will be many that don’t work or fail to offer customers the options they are looking for. Despite the rapid advances in both consumer and employee-facing systems, there are archaic and slow networks still causing deep-rooted issues that plague customer and employee experience, hiding themselves in unwritten emails and unread call logs.
If a customer is greeted by poorly performing technology or a cashier whose system is ‘running slowly today’ and is unable to process their request, their experience is going to be a negative one. This results in a lose-lose situation for all those involved, with the cashier being unable to provide a good level of service through a fault they cannot control and the customer losing valuable time waiting around for the technology to work. These negative customer experiences are hugely detrimental to a bank, especially as the rise in Open Banking has now made it easier than ever for customers to switch banks if they are dissatisfied. Banks need to ensure that their technology is consistently performing, across all of their branches, and to the highest level to meet customer demand.
Unfortunately, it is not an uncommon scenario for technology to let the customer experience down, and one of the main reasons why it’s still prevalent is because of a failure by the workforce or customers to report these instances of slow or faulty systems. Across the board there is a growing apathy and acceptance of poorly performing technology. In an environment where staff are struggling to keep customers satisfied and queues under control, it’s rare for them to take the time out to report slow technology. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of unsatisfied customers and employees alike, leaving the IT business units powerless to make any meaningful change as they are ‘blind’ to the issues.
The first step in rectifying this problem is to give the power and visibility back to the IT staff. This can be achieved by implementing visibility solutions that are able to learn what ‘normal’ performance looks like and quickly and efficiently identify bottlenecks throughout the technology landscape and ecosystem of 3rd party suppliers. This visibility would bypass the reliance on the end-user to be reporting the issues, and instead would build a proactive and agile infrastructure that enables the IT team to proactively fix issues and reduce delays, ensuring improved application performance and end-user experience. It’s impossible to deliver a first-class digital service if your IT department haven’t been kept informed of issues. They become far more efficient when armed with the right tools that provide them with the visibility over the entire network and third party ecosystem to fix issues before they become a real problem.