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Flattening silos and improving employee engagement for banks

  • Posted on February 20, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
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The ever-improving digital landscape has enabled banks to create a more personalized experience for their customers; opening up opportunities to cross-sell products and services that are tailored to their clients’ needs. This customized approach not only increases customer loyalty (and employee retention), but also revenue. 
 
Successfully cross-selling products and services starts with first breaking down the departmental silos. Removing barriers and giving employees the full picture of each client allows them to offer the right solutions at the right time. And while customer privacy is always a primary concern, using the correct infrastructure and strategy can increase transparency without exposing sensitive data.

To that end, I've identified four tips that will accelerate a more dynamic banking ecosystem poised for success.

#1. Upgrade the IT infrastructure – Many banks have a segmented IT infrastructure, essentially giving each department their own system. This causes problems for omni-channel banking,  as customers can’t start a transaction in one channel and pick it up in another. This can be solved by moving to cloud-based technology that allows departments to ‘talk’ and data to be accessible by all the necessary parties. 

Making an upgrade to infrastructure is no easy task and often leaves bank IT teams feeling overwhelmed and facing resource issues. Banks are finding success in upgrading by using outside solutions providers, who can take on everything from strategy to implementation, leaving banking personnel more time to focus on other internal initiatives.

In a recent Avanade study of 250 senior bank decision-makers, we found that almost all (99%) see advantages in using a third party to assist in implementing new technologies

#2. Understand the customer experience strategy – Beyond technology alone, creating an effective tailored customer experience is only as good as the people behind it. To be successful, banking leadership must ensure all teams are communicating with each other, and that everyone has a clear understanding of the customer journey. 

Fortunately, banks are understanding this trend. Our research found that over half of all respondents placed top priority on a seamless and personalized experience across multiple channels. For any customer experience strategy to be successful, employees should be trained to serve the customer, not just sell products. 

Umpqua bank has been putting their customer experience strategy to work with good success. They use a “universal associate model,” in which associates are trained to handle all services the bank has to offer. Associates are not only able to assist with a variety of products, but also offer service add-ons that fit the customers’ needs. 

#3. Standardize data collection and management – One item banks have readily available is customer data, and with more digital tools, banks are able to collect more data through different sources, such as mobile phones. With the current banking silo situation, each department has their own way of collecting data, and this data cannot be shared or viewed across departments.

Creating standards and directives for how data should be used, along with implementing the right technology, gives bank employees the customer data they need to offer the right services. For example, Avanade helped SpareBank create a single 360-degree view of the bank’s 1.9 million customers through the use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Accenture’s Customer Analytics Record solution.

#4. Automating back office processes – Digital banking is the here and now and banks have an opportunity to look at ways to automate their processes in order to save time, money, and keep up with the emerging FinTechs. According to Jesper Behr, global head of commercial banking at SAP, in his article, "How Digital Transformation Improves the Banking Workplace," automating and removing employees from some daily tasks allows the focus to be turned toward the customers: “The overall mantra of the digital bank should be ‘the best back office is no back office.’” Automation will streamline processes, greatly reducing the amount of time and cost required to handle standard transactions.”

Our research found that 68% of bank decision-makers agreed that Cloud is the most common technology banks are investing in – the top area for investment. This is where solution providers play a big role for creating the necessary infrastructure to help banks automate the right processes that align with their business goals. 

Breaking down the silos and creating open communication will help banks better achieve customer expectations and succeed in today’s market. By starting with the four areas mentioned above, banks can begin to create a plan to move to a more customer-centric model and increase employee engagement. This will allow for more effective cross-selling and strategic growth.

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