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How automated Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) improve customer engagement within financial services

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By Khadim Batti, Co-founder and CEO of Whatfix

 

Automation is everywhere across financial services;. McKinsey notes that up to 80% of transactional operations such as general accounting operations and payments processing, and around 40% of more strategic activities like financial controlling and reporting, financial planning and analysis, and treasury can be automated.

Today, customers expect their financial services providers to deliver an omnichannel experience that can aid self-service support, and banks that lack a clear long-term automation plan will struggle to meet customer expectations, according to McKinsey. But there are many automated technologies financial organisations can look to harness in order to meet these expectations.

McKinsey’s “The imperatives for automation success” survey findings suggest, that successful organisations continue to focus on employees as much as technology — and that they have instituted new ways of doing so in which employees work alongside the new technologies.

Khadim Batti

Automated Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs), for instance, go hand-in-hand with AI & automation, especially in the acceleration of customer and employee onboarding through automation, helping to deepen customer engagement and improve customer experience.

A piece of instructional no-code software that sits as an additional layer on top of other software applications, such as login instructions or login ID management, to help train and guide users on how to best use and navigate the digital resources, DAPs can massively improve the agility and effectiveness of business processes across an organisation.

The three benefits of automated DAPs are:

  1. Simplified login

By far one of the most common processes for a customer using digital banking or other financial services is logging in to an online portal or app, whether they’re returning users or creating a new profile. For larger business customers, this expands to an extensive and highly-regulated user ID management which may involve assigning complex access permissions to various senior level team members, while one of the hurdles that a customer needs to overcome from time-to-time is resetting the password.

With an automated DAP, this process can be more easily managed through automation. For example, users can be automatically guided through logins, and in cases where additional authentication is required, a pop up can indicate that a further authentication may need to be set up by downloading an authenticator app or that the system has sent an automatic text message or email with confirmation codes and next steps.

Similar processes can be implemented for setting or resetting passwords where DAPs can help users to ensure that they meet security requirements and are as secure as possible.

Making the login experience run smoothly at every step can set the tone for the overall user experience, which can have a huge influence on customer engagement and brand loyalty.

  1. Real-time, personalised guidance

Precious time can be lost while wading through irrelevant help content on banking apps or online insurance portals, and can lead to customers feeling frustrated. Automated in-app guidance can help to cut through the noise, pointing users in the right direction and get them the help, in real time, that they’re looking for, when they’re looking for it.

In addition, DAPs can help pinpoint particular sticking points where employees or customers struggle to use applications, or where they have difficulties completing certain processes. With this information to hand, financial services can not only work to resolve any issues, but also ensure that when users are logged into the system, they are guided step-by-step through the tricky processes using an automated walkthrough. In addition, DAPs can guide people to use self-help, pointing them in the direction of the FAQ page, or watching self-help video content.

These guides can also be tailored specifically to each user, depending on where they need extra support – further improving the customer experience.

  1. Improved customer experience

At the heart of every customer request is the need to resolve a specific issue and recognising that is the best way to satisfy them. There’s a variety of personas that may need help from their bank and also their requests may vary depending on the size of business they are from or their position within the organisation. To complicate the scenario even further, some customers may have a hard time communicating their needs and what type of solution they are interested in.

According to research by Zendesk, more than half of customers will avoid a business if they had a negative customer service experience, while nearly 40% won’t return to the brand for up to two years. The top reason for this dissatisfaction is long handling times.

The biggest reason why customer queries drag on is that they can’t find a way around their challenges. Forrester Research reports that the use of self-help or FAQs increased from 67% to 81% over three years. This suggests that customers often prefer not to call in, if they can help it. A good number of your customers and prospects will try to find an answer to their questions using online help documentation, FAQs, or any product content available.

Combining self-help and DAP guidance to navigate through online banking websites will decrease the overall time and volume of customer queries, and set the organisation up towards providing efficient and effective customer support.

Conclusion

Automation is already beginning to re-shape financial services. Using automated DAPs to enable customers to navigate the digital financial space provides much more than simply the quick help they’re after – it boosts satisfaction, brand loyalty and the bottom line.

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How can businesses boost employee experience for finance professionals?

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By Martin Schirmer, President, Enterprise Service Management, IFS

Over the course of the last year, The Great Resignation has seriously impacted organisations across the globe. Staff are quitting in huge numbers, leaving companies unprepared and struggling to fulfil their workloads. In fact, mass departures are happening at all levels of the labour market, as employees attempt to adapt to the hybrid working model and growing socio-economic uncertainty.

In light of this, optimising the employee experience (EX) to attract and retain talent has become a top priority for employers. Organisations have come to understand the necessity of taking immediate steps to drive employee engagement and reshape workplace culture.

The financial services (FS) industry is no exception to this trend. From increasing employee burnout to growing career dissatisfaction, the pandemic has exacerbated the need for transformation across finance teams. This is exemplified by recent data from Spendesk, which found that approximately 40% of finance professionals are willing to leave their roles or already have concrete plans to do so.

Organisations looking to get ahead of the competition must put in extra efforts to retain their existing workforce. The fact is that employee expectations and requirements have irreversibly changed, with more workforces becoming increasingly distributed. Today’s hyper-connected workforce values flexibility and simplicity, and it is organisations which offer these experiences that will succeed in the long term.

As part of this process, finance companies must look towards the power of technology to create seamless user experiences across devices. From automating workflows to improving overall efficiencies, Enterprise Service Management (ESM) can help organisations to boost user satisfaction and go that extra mile for their employees.

How poor EXs are driving finance teams to quit

With over 40% of employees spending a significant proportion of their time carrying out mundane, manual tasks, it is not surprising that poor EXs are having a detrimental impact on job satisfaction. Finance teams in particular have been slower to digitise core processes, leading to a heavy reliance on manual tasks. This not only increases the amount of time spent on each task, but also impacts the engagement levels of finance professionals who cannot focus on more strategic aspects of their roles.

As a result of the pandemic, flexibility has also moved to the forefront of finance teams’ desires. Given the fast-paced nature of this industry, the conversation surrounding work-life balance has increased rapidly. Failure to offer flexible working policies, coupled with a lack of technology to facilitate this flexibility, has led to poor EXs across the board.

Most notably, the overarching move to omnichannel, digital-first approaches has dramatically reset both customer and employee needs. Finance is the third-slowest running corporate function behind legal and IT. Operating in a competitive environment, 73% of finance operations are facing pressures to speed up, improve efficiency, and prioritise automation.

Mitigating the problem using technology

ESM, an offshoot of IT Service management (ITSM), is the cornerstone of smart digital transformation for organisations. It can help finance teams to streamline and automate routine processes, such as monitoring the status of service requests, approving expenses, sending invoices, and tracking payments. In turn, this will free up employees’ time, reducing the burden of manual tasks and enabling them to focus on the more strategic tasks.

Another advantage ESM can offer finance teams is the ability to adapt to each department’s minimum requirements for data privacy. Accounting, for example, needs additional layers of compliance built into the system.

ESM can also facilitate cross-departmental collaboration, helping finance professionals to communicate with the wider business and perform tasks more effectively.  Organisations can use ESM to incorporate all internal services into a single platform, offering employees a well-rounded view of the business and promoting a sense of community across all levels of an organisation. This will boost productivity, whilst enhancing visibility and control.

Ultimately, the current job landscape has brought with it a new set of challenges. Organisations in the FS industry looking to navigate the storm and retain top talent must refocus their efforts on bolstering the EX. Embracing a new era of technological innovation that empowers employees and boosts engagement is a critical step in this process.

 

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CBDCs: the key to transform cross-border payments

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Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, Board Director at RTGS.global

 

If you work in finance, you’ll have been hearing a lot about central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) and the moves different markets are making towards using, regulating and evaluating the viability of moving to an economy based on digital currency.

We are already seeing progress in the research, piloting and introduction of CBDCs into the financial system. The Banque de France for example, recently launched its second phase of CBDC experiments in line with the “triple digital revolution” unfolding in the financial sector. The infrastructures of financial markets and fintechs, however, are not prepared to accommodate their security, stability, and viability.

This could be an issue in the not too distant future. Each year, global corporates move nearly $23.5 trillion between countries, equivalent to about 25% of global GDP. This requires them to use wholesale cross-border payment processes, which remain suboptimal from a cost, speed, and transparency perspective. In fact, the G20 cross-border payments programme considers improving access to domestic payment systems that settle in central bank money, as one of the key components in facilitating increased speed and reducing the costs of cross-border payments.

The current state of cross-border payments

International transactions based on fiat are currently slow, expensive, and highly risky due to today’s disconnected financial infrastructure, messaging, and liquidity. Wholesale cross-border payment settlement can take 48 hours or longer, which is not practical in today’s digital world. Even if not every market moves to CBDCs, in an increasingly digital era, cross-border settlements between central banks will unavoidably involve dealing with CBDCs. So, not only will we have different currencies, we’ll have different technical forms of currency being exchanged – digital and fiat – as markets adopt CBDCs at different rates, adding another layer of complexity to cross-border settlements.

While there is much anticipation about the opportunities CBDCs can bring, the adoption of this technology will only be widespread if payment and settlement capabilities are overhauled to allow for new innovations in currencies.  This need for transformation represents an opportunity to redesign existing infrastructure to support cross-border CBDC transactions.

The current cross-border payments system involves correspondent banks in different jurisdictions using commercial bank money. Uncommitted credit lines used in cross-border transactions are a potential risk for any bank that relies on credit provided by a foreign correspondent bank. Interestingly, there is no single global payment and settlement system, only a complicated network of interbank relationships operating on mutual trust. While trust has allowed financial systems to function smoothly, when it begins to fail, as it did during the 2008 financial crisis, the result can be catastrophic.

Following the crisis, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) implemented the Basel III agreement, which required banks to maintain additional capital against correspondent banking account exposures. These risk-weighted assets impose a costly capital charge on positions held by banks at other banks under correspondent arrangements. While this framework helps combat risk, it neglects to address the inherent problems in traditional correspondent banking that contribute to these risks.

Making the case for CBDCs

CBDCs can offer an improvement in settlement risks and are certainly thought to have potential benefits by the BIS. If implemented correctly, wholesale CBDCs can indeed accelerate interbank transactions while eliminating settlement risk. They can also encourage a more efficient and straightforward method of executing cross-border payments by reducing the number of intermediaries.

It is likely the evolution towards CBDCs will initially see the financial market supplement rather than replace existing payment instruments with new types of digital currency. CBDCs will coexist with current forms of money in a wholesale context, and their payment rails will also work alongside the existing payment systems. In simple terms, CBDCs will need to be linked to the broader capital markets ecosystem and applications such as securities settlement, funding, and liquidity.

If built with an innovation-first mindset, the future of banking infrastructure should provide full interoperability and convertibility between fiat, CBDCs, and any other type of digital money used in wholesale payments.

The future of CBDCs

To unlock the full potential of CBDCs, a ‘corridor network’ will need to be formed. This involves combining multiple wholesale CDBCs into a single, interoperable network under common governance agreed upon by all central banks involved. The legal framework of this platform would then allow for payment versus payment (PvP) or, where applicable, delivery versus payment settlement.

Practical wholesale CBDCs appear to be on the horizon, either as a supplement to existing financial systems or as part of a transition to a digital, cashless world. Looking ahead, central banks would benefit from collaborating with fintechs that provide innovative cloud native technology to enable seamless wholesale cross-border payments without interfering with the flow of funds. If wholesale CBDCs are to become a reality, fintechs must be prepared to accommodate them.

 

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