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The Great Resignation – why self-service improvement should be front of mind for financial services firms in 2022

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20th July 2022

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Abbie Crome

It’s increasingly difficult for mid-sized financial services firms to attract and retain required talent. So, it’s time to minimise toil and treasure your human resources. Customer service is where to start.

The so-called “great resignation,” a term coined in the US following a record three percent spike of staff resignations in September 2021, paints a vivid picture of the challenge facing employers today. And although employers in the UK didn’t experience the exact same spike in resignations, they are undoubtedly facing similar pressures.

UK Job vacancies have risen to record levels in 2022. In Q1, for the first time, the number of vacancies was larger than the number of people unemployed, according to the ONS.

The mounting cost-of-living crisis might make mid-sized financial services firms particularly nervous as swathes of customer service staff look at what’s on offer elsewhere.

Customer service job postings increased 510% during 2021

Those alternatives are increasingly easy to find. As reported in HR News, Reed.co.uk, the UK’s largest jobs website, saw a 510 percent increase in customer service job postings in 2021. Banking-related roles rose 305 percent in the same year.

The increasing competition for customer service staff—many of whom are particularly vulnerable to rising inflation—means employers may struggle to retain valuable talent.
Which begs the question…

Are you making the best use of your customer service talent?

With such fierce competition, a shortage of customer service staff could lead to customer service shortfalls. Financial service organisations that rely heavily on counter services and contact centres will suffer the worst.

These dynamics make it even more important that financial services firms step up their digital self-service options.

Operational excellence meets CX improvement

Customer experience improvement has long been the principal driver of investment in digital self-service options. The main motives were providing customers with more choice and being relevant and accessible to increasingly digital-savvy consumers.

But as customer service talent becomes harder and more expensive to attract and retain, arguably operational efficiency is an even more critical reason to serve customers through digital channels.

The reduction of customer service toil will elevate the role of your customer service agents, making their work more worthwhile while at the same time reducing friction, effort, and delay for your customers.

Minimise customer service toil to improve customer experience

Here are four customer-facing processes where automation can remove toil from customer service agents and improve the customer experience.

Customer onboarding – account opening and onboarding

If your account opening process requires customers to visit a branch and bring documentation, implement a frictionless digital account opening process. Into the bargain, you’ll eliminate the processing delays and ‘radio silence’ that cause customers and intermediaries to make numerous chaser calls that keep your contact centres busy.

Product maturity switches – when savings products or fixed-rate mortgage periods mature

If your retention team handles a chaotic combination of core systems, data extracts, spreadsheets, marketing/email automation systems, and shared inboxes, you need a more efficient and systematic approach. Look for a retention solution that helps customers self-serve, with everything they require to compare and select their maturity options. You’ll dramatically reduce customer service toil, so agents have time to focus on customers ready to move forward or those needing one-to-one help.

Self service banking – current accounts, savings accounts, cards, and mortgages

If you provide disjointed and inconsistent digital banking experiences that lack direct integration to your core systems, you probably suffer from two problems. Customer service staff will be kept busy processing transactions, and you won’t achieve the level of channel shift needed to scale your operations. It generally takes just three months to implement a modern digital banking suite that will eliminate customer service toil and radically improve customer experience.

Self service collections – allow customers to resolve overdue payments anytime, anywhere

If your collections process relies heavily on one-to-one emails and phone calls, your customer service agents have masses of toil. Look for a solution that enables self-service guidance to customers in debt. Your agents will have more time to help vulnerable customers and resolve complex cases. And you’ll improve collection performance, as customers who digitally self-serve repay more of their debt.

Minimise customer service toil to reduce staff retention risk

As illustrated above, minimising toil should be part of your CX improvement drive. But given the churn risk of customer service staff, reducing toil is also a smart defensive move. You’ll raise operational efficiency. You’ll also upgrade roles, improve job satisfaction and support loyal employees seeking higher-purpose work.

If you’re keen to quickly and dramatically reduce customer service toil, find out more about ieDigital Interact—a suite of pre-built, pre-integrated, easy to configure services that work alongside your core banking systems.

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