Covid-19 has disrupted many of the long-¬established norms of the banking world. In just a few weeks, the pandemic forced customers to manage more of their finances online and compelled financial institutions to make major changes to the way they work.
The banking industry has already proved it can meet these significant challenges by radically transforming how – and where – employees work in a short space of time. Banks have ensured that their branches are fully stocked with face masks, gloves and sanitisers. They have rescheduled business hours and restricted customer numbers to allow for safe social distancing. Most importantly, they have supported their customers and employees by rapidly pivot¬ing to deliver more online, mobile and call centre banking services. In doing so, banks have also demonstrated that protecting the health and well-being of their employees and their customers is a top priority.
The road ahead feels uncertain, but it’s clear that banks will need to continue to adapt as the situation progresses to ensure they can meet their customers’ need for uninterrupted banking services. In addition, they must also continue to support their corporate and small and medium-sized enterprise clients to ensure business continuity and keep the global economy going.
To achieve these aims, banks are reimagining their operational business models and millions of branch and contact centre employees are already providing customer services from their homes. Research from Stanford Business School suggests home working boosts productivity and job satisfaction because employees are more engaged and less distracted. Consequently, if this crisis results in sustained improvements in work-life balance, it could help banks to reduce their dependence on high-cost office spaces and make it easier to attract and retain talented people.
Certainly, it’s likely that banks will need to continue to develop these remote working capabilities, with a Harvard University professor warning that many physical distancing measures may need to be in place intermittently until 2022. Hence, banks will need to scale up their remote access technology and become adept at managing remote teams. In addition, they must implement up-to-date security patches and information security protocols to safeguard ¬customer data.
Banks will also need to implement fast and seamless digital capabilities to enable employees to provide all the services traditionally available in a branch, even if they are working from home with just a laptop or tablet. They will need support and a range of technology solutions to do this securely. That’s where VeriPark’s branch automation solution, VeriBranch, excels. By using VeriBranch to directly connect to back-office systems, employees can quickly and easily look up customer account information. This empowers bank tellers to remotely execute efficient transactions, such as loan origination, account origination and transfers. Relationship managers and advisors can also use it to provide friendly and personalised financial planning services, all while working from home.
Meanwhile, a customer relationship management solution like VeriTouch makes working from home even more convenient for employees. Its unified front end consolidates the user interface of all banking functionalities into one application – with one login and one navigation menu. Empowered by standardised processes and guided selling tools, employees can continue serving customers efficiently, make personalised recommendations and deliver relevant and differentiated offers wherever they are.
Digital banking used to be a matter of personal convenience, but now it’s also a part of employee safety. By implementing VeriChannel, an omnichannel delivery solution, banks can offer their customers convenient banking services without the need for physical interaction. They can engage with customers through their preferred channels whether it’s online, mobile, via a video call or a contact centre, all without losing the human touch.
Although some customers and employees may be longing for banking to return to “normal”, others are finding it difficult to imagine going back to how things were. It’s likely that some traditional ways of banking will (and probably should) change for the better.
Many banking leaders are realising that their teams can do much of their work productively at home. For the foreseeable future, we are all going to have to live and work with some form of physical distancing. VeriPark has the digital banking solutions to ensure a bank’s employees can work from home, stay safe and be available to meet the needs of their retail and business customers.
Wim Geukens is managing director at VeriPark Europe
This article was originally published in the Winter 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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