Despite executives such as Bob Diamond and Stephen Hester foregoing bonuses and offering apologies, the reputation of the banks remains at its blackest and it will be a mammoth task to restore any standing – whatever the details of the Libor rigging, pension miss-selling or so-called IT glitches.
Banks will have to go back to basics on service. One of the ways to achieve this is by focusing on individual customers to regain their loyalty, which is where the channel could help.
Banks and the wider financial services industry have long been committed to enhancing infrastructure and modernising legacy IT. They will now have to further streamline their interactions with customers and partners to achieve necessary efficiency, transparency and customer loyalty to their future operations.
Putting customer communications in one place and freeing up staff time to resolve queries could also help banks better manage peaks and troughs in demand. Unified communications (UC) infrastructure, incorporating technologies such as IM, one-number contact, online collaboration or presence awareness, may help.
UC can add flexibility and it can be done over the cloud, letting organisations add extra workers to the corporate network in a matter of hours. Customer service teams might even be able to respond better to customer concerns, including large-scale outages.
Bank staff should also be able to improve and manage their interactions with colleagues and consumers using social media platforms, and resellers can help them engineer such service innovations, making a serious contribution to improving responsiveness and restoring customer satisfaction.
Market analyst Ovum has predicted that the global retail banking sector will increase its technology spend 3.2 per cent in 2012, despite the continuing market turmoil. Technology innovations will allow banks to work smarter, increasing their efficiency in selling and servicing.
If workforces can be mobilised or communicate better with customers using new technologies, this will help the financial services industry address business process issues and refocus their customer service, improving their performance and reputation longer term.
Rob Keenan is UK head of portfolio management for deployment readiness management at Siemens Enterprise Communications
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