Enhancing Digital Experience in the Financial & Insurance Industries
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Retaining customers has always been challenging and crucial, and with a proliferation of options in an increasingly sophisticated digital world, it has gotten even tougher. Similarly, attracting and retaining employees has become extremely difficult, as the Great Resignation exacerbates a crisis-level skills gap. Customers and employees alike now expect intuitive, consumer-like experiences in all facets of their digital lives. As financial services organizations realize the customer and employee experience is inextricably intertwined, they are turning to end-user computing to create exceptional digital experiences that help them succeed at retaining both.
As always, with challenge comes opportunity. As organizations in the financial and insurance industries strive to meet customers' and employees' digital expectations, new winners will likely emerge in the space. Those winners will succeed through first developing a thorough understanding of what is driving their constituents' changing needs and desires.
Many employees in the financial services industry have been impacted by recent events in fundamental ways. For example, 37% of frontline banking employees at branches and call centers that remained accessible and functioning to service customers report that the pandemic had a negative impact on their mental health, with 22% reporting it took a toll on their workload and another 13% said it hurt their physical health, according to BAI. Research shows that employees in this situation have higher resignation rates and experience more burnout.
Employees today demand a higher level of flexibility than ever before, especially when it comes to where, how and when they work. New approaches and technologies can help you offer exactly that. According to McKinsey, employers should invest in technology, adapt policies, and train employees to create workplaces that integrate people working remotely and on-site.
Today's employees also have a renewed desire for fulfilling, meaningful work, another probable outcome of the pandemic. And as new workforce entrants are ambitious, they want to keep learning and advancing through the professional ranks, and they'll move on quickly if their expectations aren't being met. In a recent study by PWC, more than two thirds of remote workers reported feeling concerned that they would be overlooked for development opportunities. All of these facts lead to an immense opportunity for companies to invest in more personalized and effective management, training and advancement for their people.
Productivity and cost reduction once drove the shift to cloud. While digital transformation projects are still about the cloud acceleration of use cases, the number one driver has become digital experience. After all, how important is productivity if customers and employees are leaving because they don't appreciate their experience?
As the world has changed, end-user computing has evolved along with it. Initially, end-user computing focused on the digital workplace, rooted in the physical locations where employees worked and customers interacted, which of course centered around headquarters, offices, and branches. During the pandemic, the focus evolved to the digital workspace, which meant accessing anything anywhere and at any time.
Now, the focus is clearly digital experience based on what today's employees and customers need and want. The pandemic changed customers' expectations of digital experience, as people shopped, socialized, sought health care and other services, and pretty much lived online in numbers far greater than ever before. Post-pandemic, organizations are now also focusing on employees' expectations for their digital experience, not just online but in person. For example, after experiencing remote work and isolation, many people don't want to return to the office, but if they have to, they often prefer working in a more interactive space and social environment as opposed to an isolated office or meeting room, yet these interactive spaces still require digital technologies.
In offices around the world, big boardrooms and meeting rooms are now often being transformed into more collaborative huddle spaces. This requires new actions like enabling rooms with equipment on a trolley instead of building cable speakers into the wall, which allows that equipment to easily move to various locations where people may choose to interact, which almost always includes participants working elsewhere. Hybrid work is raising new issues like ensuring meeting equality so people working remotely have an equivalent experience to those working in the office.
Similarly, as customers return to doing business in branches or offices, they often want to interact in more social environments. In fact, customer demand for social interactions is driving banks to consider undergoing branch transformations to better meet their current needs and desires.
Financial and insurance industry organizations are leveraging end-user computing to sculpt digital experience in a variety of ways. These include:
- Banks with branches enable employees with mobile devices and capabilities. As opposed to focusing on transactions, banks with branches can enable their associates to be higher-performing and more successful with mobile devices and applications.
- Banks use mobile devices to create positive retail experiences. While banks have invested heavily in intuitive, effective apps, until customers adopt them en masse, in lieu of in-person visits, devices will play a major role in shaping experience. For example, when customers enter a branch bank, a greeter with a tablet can capture initial information to help manage client flow and assign them to the right people for help. Samsung Galaxy tablets are an ideal solution to provide a great customer experience in this type of situation.
- Many banks, mortgage firms and credit card companies run customer service call centers that now rely heavily on remote employees who prefer to use their own devices. Device management platforms—also known as unified endpoint management systems—help you better manage across all types of end-user devices, from mobile phones and tablets to laptops and PCs, allowing employees to use the devices they are most comfortable with, while ensuring the performance and quality customers demand.
- Banks develop end-user computing plans as part of branch transformations. Many banks plan to upscale into high-demand markets with more services and fewer transactions. They are wrestling with issues from workforce transformation and upskilling to main street relevance, all of which relate back to digital transformation of experience and talent. End-user computing will be an essential component of that transformation to ensure employees have simple, effective access to the information they need to provide customers, with the answers they want quickly, accurately and securely.
- Investment banks use higher-end foldables and higher-end tablets so they don't have to lug around a laptop. Once again, this is a perfect use for the Samsung Galaxy foldable tablets.
- Insurance companies enable agents with technology that allows them to be not only mobile and flexible, but also to perform well in the office. Samsung's Galaxy Z foldable tablets are a powerful, attractive and flexible option.
- Wealth management firms use video end-points to help them build relationships and retain clients. For example, Cisco's new Webex Desk Mini and Webex Desk Pro provide the high-quality, face-to-face collaboration needed for valued clients.
One struggle all types of financial and insurance organizations share is staffing. End-user computing can help address this by:
- Setting people up to be successful. During the pandemic, many organizations implemented work from anywhere, but never set people up to be fully mobile/hybrid. Some organizations are now recruiting from anywhere. Technology must provide the capabilities, privacy and security required to increase services, provide flexibility AND improve the bottom line.
- Providing the best end-user solutions. Typically, the best solutions involve mobile devices with the right apps delivering the right experience that:
- Get them up and running quickly. With the right device in hand providing access to the information and tools they need, beginning employees can be as knowledgeable as anyone. This change can significantly improve a new employee's first-week experience.
- Give them the ability to quickly and effectively meet clients' needs.
- Help them stay informed and connect with the company culture and brand.
- Offer more freedom instead of constraint.
- Encouraging people to come back to the office by offering the option to use their preferred devices. A number of financial companies want their employees back in the office. But how do you get people who have been working remotely to return to the office full-time, without risking a mass exodus? Technology can be used to create better experiences. Also, flexibility to use their preferred devices or meeting apps, for example, can ease the transition for employees.
- Developing apps that work on any platform. Many years ago, iPads were the default choice for tablets for business use. Back then, developers would create apps solely for the Apple platform, just in iOS. Now, banking or customer-facing apps designed to improve the customer experience need to work on ANY platform, Windows, Android along with iOS. VMware Workspace ONE, Microsoft MEM and Citrix are the main providers of endpoint management for all types of employee devices and the apps, whether for work or personal use. This enables BYOD—bring your own device—for companies that decide to support it. Thus, financial services employees can use the devices they're most comfortable with, and IT staff has ultimate visibility and control of the device and apps to better support updates, maintain regulatory compliance and troubleshoot problems. It gives financial services employees ultimate flexibility in serving their customers.
You can strategically use end-user computing to meet your goals by following these nine steps.
A bad experience impacts both employees and customers, which makes them equally important. For example, collaboration platforms connect teams, but also conference with customers. If there is a problem or a delay, it impacts both employees and customers, so they are intrinsic to each other. In fact, some progressive companies are combining leadership roles to make both employee experience and customer experience the responsibility of the same executive.
Keep partners, suppliers and vendors in mind when it comes to experience. You can't impact one without the other.
Tech needs to be easy for your staff to work with, or they'll get frustrated. If they don't have the right tech, loyalty could suffer. Give them the tools and training they need, and make it easy and effective. And as far as possible, try to give them flexibility, such as allowing them to use preferred devices.
When it comes to the Great Resignation, many organizations are missing the real opportunity. It's not about stopping talent from leaving; it's about attracting bright new talent from anywhere—and that includes everyone across the board, from Gen Z to established professionals. Remember that people want to be part of leading companies that support their ways of working and their cultural styles. They want the latest toolsets–no one wants to work with legacy devices, SW and HW. They want to work with cutting edge tools at a cutting edge company. They want choice and flexibility, whether that means their own devices or those they are comfortable using.
Listen and understand first. It's important to bring groups together and break down silos. Listen to their challenges and desires, whether it's at a strategic level or a more tactical problem requiring a complex solution. Determine what outcomes your organization needs to achieve to create the digital experience necessary to fulfill its vision. Fully comprehend your current situation in light of business objectives and vision. Ask: What are the opportunities in front of you? What are your expectations? What would you like to achieve this year and in the longer-term? After you develop that level of understanding, you should consider how technology can help you do all that.
Explore emerging technologies and innovations. Develop an understanding of the new technologies and capabilities vendors like Samsung plan to bring to market in the upcoming months and years, and the insight they can give you in terms of how those innovations could affect your business. What impact will 5G have? What about private networks? What do payments look like on future models or technologies? These issues can help you build a thoughtful program that minimizes surprises and helps you be as prepared as possible.
Start with your desired business outcomes. The days of considering technological perfection or concerns over business needs are long gone. Use those business requirements to set priorities, then allocate budget and implement in phases as your budget permits. Remember that transforming employee and end-user experience is a journey that takes longer than a year and needs to be implemented over time. Go for early wins to prove the improvements and for wins that are aligned to the top outcome and your top priority on the roadmap.
Develop a stage by stage process through to your end state, and make sure to build security throughout. Ask: what kind of security is on the device? What is the back-end security like for those devices? Do you need a combination of security tools? Do you have asset-tracking? Security needs to remain top of mind throughout the process.
A maturity model can help you plan your end-user computing program, whether your business is small or large and no matter what segment you're in. If you're an insurance company or a smaller financial services company, your focus may be on how you can get where you need to be, fast. Big financials may need to address how they scale. But regardless of your focus, a maturity curve like the WWT End-User Computing Maturity Model can help you determine:
- Where you are on the model and where you want to be? This will drive all your actions.
- What tools you are using and what processes you are following?
- What is missing?
- How you can improve on what you're already doing?
Don't be discouraged. Once you know the level of your organization's maturity, you can more quickly and effectively get better-performing by following the best practices and steps laid out in the model.
WWT leverages our experience to help you get where you need to go and get there fast, using best practices from not only your own industry, but many other industries.
Technology decisions are not siloed projects anymore. It's important to think programmatically, and consider the cascading impact of any technology decision on the full value chain.
Choosing the right technology starts with letting go of any preconceived notions. Don't just go in with your incumbent OEM. Be open-minded, and don't count anything out at first. As an example, Zoom was used heavily during the pandemic, and is an easy app to use, although it was not something many enterprises would have considered. Although most financial companies use Webex or Microsoft teams, some have also adopted Zoom as their main conferencing platform and are even considering Zoom for smaller or back offices.
List requirements as part of the business case, and consider solutions that are fit-for-purpose and meet those requirements. Don't just rely on Gartner reviews or peer recommendations. Then validate your technology selections carefully, and make sure you conduct bake-offs comparing products and test it out. WWT's Advanced Technology Center (ATC) includes hundreds of OEMs, with pre-built POCs for companies to pre-validate them, allowing you to compare and test products, and take a real look at what works and what doesn't.
You can't just buy an app; you need to create an operation around it. Analytics is only as good as your data input, and can have a myriad of variables. Consider analytics as more of a practice than a solution. Think about what actions you want to take from that data, how to centralize it, what platform it runs on, security, if it's actionable, if the data has the right relevance; these are much more important than taking the product off the shelf.
It's important to design analytics around what you need to know. This could include:
- How do I manage the expectations of my customers?
- What data can I see?
- How is my workforce productivity?
- What is the satisfaction level of my employees?
- How do I know?
Make sure you identify a digital experience platform that holistically manages all the way across, from laptops to other devices, and that can score digital experience based on your satisfaction with technology, up to and including how often your machine crashes. It can tell you:
- How your apps are working, i.e. how did Teams work, did it crash, was there a connectivity problem?
- Where can you focus your team? How do they provide proactive support instead of reactive?
- Are remote workers suffering more than employees in the office?
This information can help you form a proactive plan to manage employee and customer experience, maybe replacing legacy software or hardware, perhaps advocating for the latest technology.
By following these nine steps, you will ensure that your end-user computing program creates excellent digital experiences that help you attract and retain employees and customers, increase productivity and build competitive advantage for your organization.
- Great Resignation or Not, Money Won't Fix All Your Talent Problems, Gartner, December 2021.
- How the Banking Industry Will Survive 'The Great Resignation', thefinancialbrand.com, 2021.
- Who Is Driving the Great Resignation?, Harvard Business Review, September 2021.
- Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it, McKinsey, June 2022.
- PwC's Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 | PwC, PwC, May 2022.
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold Tab: Everything you need to know | Tech Advisor, March 2022.
- Should EX and CX Be Managed Together? reworked.co, August 2022.
During an interactive, hands-on session, you'll discover the maturity of your end-user computing environment, align priorities and reduce the complexity of vendor selection. You'll walk away with a strategic roadmap to guide you in achieving your organization's end-user computing goals.