Enhancing employee experience: The role of collaborative applications
- Posted on June 23, 2022
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
20 years ago, I spent a significant part of my time working in banking call centres. I sat alongside colleagues watching them work tirelessly to support customers, often despite the technology. I never got tired of watching and listening to them work. Their passion, customer focus, and the way they handled conversations led me to conclude that they are the unsung heroes of many banks.
Two specific encounters stuck in my memory.
The first was a colleague who, during a customer interaction, pressed CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart an unresponsive application. I asked her: “How did you know how to do that and how often do you do this?” Her response surprised me: “Several times a day. My uncle is an IT hobbyist and told me how to kill apps and restart. It saves me a lot of time as going to IT support would just kill the customer experience and affect my performance.”
The second encounter involved processing Bacs payments with a customer. The agent would need to use several applications to complete a simple money transfer. They were joining together a broken set of processes that could take up to 20 minutes to complete, resulting in poor customer experience and increased costs.
These two stories clearly illustrate the impact that poor process management, platforms and applications can have on operational performance. And they are just as relevant today as they were then. The technology may have changed but the need to manage multiple applications within complex processes shows no signs of going away, especially as the number of applications within an enterprise grows.
Collaboration is key
How can banks simplify and enhance employee experience?
Microsoft’s workplace platform, Microsoft 365, has a particular focus on enabling collaboration. This platform provides banks with the capability to build more contextual and people-centric solutions focused on employee and customer applications – something Microsoft calls Collaborative Applications.
At the heart of Collaborative Applications is a common thread that brings together people, tasks, documents and applications. This enables banks to deliver new experiences aligned around process, rather than being reliant on the colleague to ‘join the dots.’ When combined with Microsoft Teams, banks can combine all elements involved in process execution within a familiar environment. These new collaborative experiences exploit existing Microsoft tooling and collaboration features, such as chat, screen sharing, and whiteboarding. In providing this capability, banks can reduce time to serve, increase customer satisfaction and improve colleague experience.
Recent research suggests that digitising a typical mortgage process can reduce costs by 10% and shorten process time by 10-40% due to better process orchestration and improved collaboration. This is because there are too many internal touchpoints for each mortgage application (30+), wasted time searching for documents, lack of transparency in tracking application status and long cycle times due to manual preparation of closing procedures with in-person meetings needed for signing.
We recently worked with a global investment management organisation to deliver a new investor onboarding solution using Collaborative Applications and Microsoft Teams. The existing onboarding process was manual, using email and Excel. It needed significant internal and external collaboration across multiple parties and time zones. All meetings, documents, notes, tasks and interactions with both external investors and internal stakeholders were arranged manually, making the process slow and prone to error.
By developing a new collaborative application, inside Microsoft Teams, we digitised the process. Tasks could be assigned to the relevant internal stakeholder, such as the finance controller, for approval at agreement stage or to the investor for review and sign-off. This has improved compliance and the investor onboarding experience.
The capability delivered by Collaborative Applications and Microsoft Teams is genuinely exciting and can reshape how work is done inside banks, giving them the ability to reimagine processes that span multiple applications and employees – empowering employees to deliver the best possible customer service.