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“Open 24 Hours A Day, Seven Days A Week”: How Virtualization Is Making This Possible For Banks

- August 11, 2014 10:45 am

In the fast-emerging world of being “Open 24 Hours,” financial institutions have the opportunity to simultaneously increase their service capacity, market coverage, operating efficiencies, customer value and revenue.

Having the right people, with the right skills and access to the capabilities that process customer service requests is essential. More importantly, providing your service dynamically, while the customer is engaged in the conversation will set a new standard for customer value and convenience.

What is the secret sauce that will make this possible? To realize this potential, we need to re-orient our models for how we operate, organize, and distribute services to the marketplace.

Let’s look at the problem through the lens of how we allocate resources and capabilities across our points of interaction/channels: branches, online, telephone, contact centre and mobile.

Having the needed levels of capacity to deliver all services equally across our operating footprint is a continuous logistical challenge. In order to compensate for this, we employ talent distribution and coverage models that offer different services and service levels at various points of interaction with clients. This uneven service model often results in customers being inconvenienced in terms of when, where and how they are served.

Today, video interaction and collaboration technologies are eliminating this problem by virtualizing the operating model and allowing the right skills and expertise to be distributed digitally across the entire operating footprint. Imagine the potential to improve your operating economics and to truly deliver differentiated customer experiences and convenience.

An example is UK-based Nationwide, the largest building society globally with a relationship with one in four households in the UK. Nationwide has created the structure and capabilities that have transformed the operating model for selling mortgages. In its drive to enhance customer experience, increase sales and staff efficiency, Nationwide has employed Cisco’s Remote Expert Smart Solution for Retail Banking. Nationwide’s Remote Advisor enables virtual face-to-face meetings between mortgage consultants and customers using high-definition video and instead of being allocated to specific branches, mortgage consultants have been repositioned centrally.  Select branches now incorporate “digital spaces” outfitted with video and other requisite technologies that allow clients to interact with mortgage specialist and to process the required documentation. To date, the results from the initial pilot have been impressive; key measures such as customer experience, business uplift, and cost to serve indicators have shown positive impact and as a result, this new distribution model will be deployed on a wider basis.

For more information on how Nationwide is transforming their business through Cisco technology, read our case study.

As the Nationwide example illustrates, there are many factors that must be adapted in an orchestrated manner to maximize the impact and enable customers to access services any time they choose. Furthermore, this orchestrated approach to virtualizing the distribution and operating models will change the economics of the interaction with customers. It will enable new possibilities for how key resources, assets and processing capabilities are allocated. Along with other key strategies, it will ultimately enable banks to be open 24 Hours.

Banks that that are unable to harness the potential of this digital distribution model will likely miss out on significant opportunities to improve operating efficiencies, grow revenues and deliver distinctive superior levels of customer value.

Those that are able to harness it will change the game and make it uncomfortable for their competitors who are forced to play catch up. Ultimately, banks utilizing the digital distribution model will seldom be without the capacity to serve a customer.

In my next blog, I will address how employing unified communications-enabled digital distribution models will help banks offer big branch services through smaller, lower cost branch models.  If you have any questions about how virtualization is impacting the financial industry, please leave them below.

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