Interaction Technology: Neutralizing the barriers of time, location and staffing levels

As part of my continuing series on the 24-hour bank this post builds on the question of how banks could begin to develop the capabilities, enabled by technology, to address the operational and logistical challenges inherent in operating in a customer-driven 24-hour world.

First up are the factors that shape our existing distribution model: our traditional route to market and how our clients connect and interact with banks. Starting with branches, our traditional distribution model has evolved with the development of technologies such as the telephone, the Internet and ATM’s. While these technologies provided increased options for clients to interact and transact, they were still affected by constraints of the existing operating model– the availability of bank staff with the requisite skills.

How so? Contact centres, telephone and online banking required a shift in staffing models to enable customers interact and transact outside of the normal work day. ATM’s allowed customers to self-serve for certain basic transactions at any time of day. Collectively these technologies extend operating hours for clients, but services were limited due the fact that the expertise required for more complex services were still unavailable outside the traditional workday.

24-hour banking is based on the notion that client needs can be served around the clock. This requires the availability of the requisite skills around the clock, and when you factor in the Canada-wide and global footprint of major banks, this presents a staffing, scheduling and cost challenge.

This is where collaboration technology comes in. A unified platform that ties together all modes of communications, coupled with video, now make it possible for banks to cost effectively staff and serve in a 24-hour operating model.  A subset of collaboration is what we call unified communications (UC) technology. UC makes it possible for the expertise required for service to be anywhere – untethered from the physical branch or contact centre and easily reached. It also provides the built-in network intelligence that connects the client, whether on the Internet or a mobile device, with the right expertise dynamically.

When banks can ‘untether’ experts, significant benefits can be derived. These includeincreased productivity of a mortgage specialist who instead of traveling between branches can service more client from their office through video

– Increased productivity of a mortgage specialist who instead of traveling between branches can service more client from their office through video

– Increased sales opportunities as more business is closed sooner

-Increased client satisfaction because their needs are met faster

-Greater leverage of existing staff across a wider geographic footprint

Moreover, the tools that enable 24-hour operations also positively impact in-branch operations. In-branch video access to experts located elsewhere can better serve branches with peaks and valleys in customer traffic. For example, the resources in a branch with low traffic could be redirected to serve customers in another branch with traffic that exceeds staffing capacity.

We’ve also seen how the use of video to connect experts with clients can be used to provide specialized support previously unavailable in all branches. With video, literally every specialist within your organization is available to your clients – anytime.

Several banks have started to test and utilize collaboration technology, which by the way also includes video-enabled ATM’s as to enable better leverage of key staff as referenced in a recent article in the American Banker magazine on ANZ Bank in New Zealand.

As more banks deploy smaller footprint branches in an effort to optimize distribution costs, these technologies will enable them to provide a full suite of services with fewer staff. The bank branch of the future may be smaller, but the services they will deliver will be bigger than ever.

In subsequent posts I will discuss the additional technologies, related business practices and policies essential for success in today’s banking landscape.

About Geoffrey King

Geoff is the Lead for Cisco’s Business Transformation solutions for the Financial Services Industry in Canada. Geoff works with Business leaders in Retail Banking, Wealth Management and Insurance to develop initiatives that leverage Cisco’s expertise, products, services and partners to improve operating economics, deliver distinctive client experience, and drive service delivery model innovation. Geoff draws on a broad base of international leadership, business transformation and mergers and acquisition experience in large private sector organizations and private-public sector partnerships in Canada, the US, and Emerging markets. Prior to joining Cisco Canada, Geoff worked with the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, a strategic partnership composed of the major Financial Services organizations, three levels of Government, and Educational Institutions, focused on building the international reputation of the Toronto region as a vibrant and strong Top 10 Global Financial Centre. Prior to his return to Canada in 2009, Geoff was based in Barbados, where he was a member of the senior leadership team building and expanding CIBC’s Caribbean multi-line franchise, CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank with operations across 17 countries, and in Houston Texas with Williams Communications Solutions, leading the integration of several acquisitions. M. King est le chef des solutions de transformation des activités pour le secteur des services financiers de Cisco Canada. Dans le cadre de son travail, M. King collabore avec des dirigeants d'entreprise des domaines des services bancaires au détail, des services de gestion de patrimoine et des assurances pour élaborer des initiatives qui tirent profit de l'expertise, des produits, des services et des partenaires de Cisco pour accroître la rentabilité des activités d'exploitation, offrir une expérience utilisateur distincte et favoriser l'innovation en matière de modèle de prestation de services. M. King s'appuie sur une vaste expérience de leadership international, de transformation des activités et de fusions et d'acquisitions, laquelle a été acquise au sein de grandes sociétés du secteur privé et de partenariats publics-privés au Canada, aux États-Unis et dans des marchés émergents. Avant d'entrer au service de Cisco Canada, M. King a travaillé au sein de la Toronto Financial Services Alliance – partenariat stratégique composé de grandes entreprises de services financiers, de trois paliers de gouvernement et d'établissements d'enseignement – centrée sur l'accroissement du rayonnement international de la région de Toronto à titre de centre financier fort et vibrant figurant parmi les 10 plus importants centres financiers au monde. Avant de revenir au Canada en 2009, M. King travaillait à la Barbade au sein de l'équipe de cadres supérieurs chargée de bâtir et de faire croître la CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, franchise multigamme de la CIBC aux Caraïbes, qui exploite des bureaux dans 17 pays. Il a aussi travaillé pour Williams Communications Solutions à Houston Texas, où il a dirigé l'intégration de plusieurs acquisitions.
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