A financial services company in the Caribbean has long delivered personalized, traditional banking and customer service and prioritized face-to-face transactions over digital ones. As economic growth slowed in 2020, the bank had to accelerate service digitization to remain competitive. With varying levels of technical understanding across the company, a forward-thinking manager at the bank engaged digital customer experience (CX) consultants to educate, align team focus and strategy, create a modernization roadmap, and respectfully challenge the status quo.
The client is one of the largest financial services companies in the West Indies. The client operates 100 bricks-and-mortar branches, a 400-person contact center, and rudimentary online banking channels. The client has engaged HGS not only for its CX consulting services but to provide inbound customer and branch support, outbound sales, and back office processing support from Jamaica since 2012.
Most Caribbean enterprises — even well-established ones like this bank — have limited budgetary leeway to soften the effects of an extended downturn or pandemic.
The bank realized that it must digitize and transform the contact center from an information hub to a resolution hub to reduce reliance on costly bricks-and-mortar. It had to ensure agents could not only answer frequently asked questions but also help customers solve real problems across convenient channels.
With the distractions of the pandemic, the challenges of retooling a long-tenured and unionized workforce, and a philosophical shift from a “late adopter” to “early adopter” technology stance as a backdrop, it was particularly tricky to get all the departments in the bank to identify, agree to, and execute an informed, cohesive plan.
The bank engaged experts in the digital CX to clarify the way forward.
As the bank has historically viewed customer service as strictly a contact center or retail branch concern, systems, queues, and processes at the bank were siloed, segmented, and not customer-focused. The bank had many outdated systems that prevented a unified, omnichannel CX.
HGS provided three teams to work with the bank leaders. Over three months and several virtual workshops, these CX consultants offered the following:
- Workshops and training: Led cross-departmental, in-depth education sessions on the contact center of the future, the unified digital customer experience, and the advanced technologies behind these constructs.
- Needs analysis: Used a proven, consultative framework to investigate and evaluate the current state of the bank’s contact center and IT infrastructure.
- Strategic priority identification: Facilitated productive discussions to identify both bank and customer priorities and preferences.
- Digital recommendations: Created a list of recommendations that involved consolidating and integrating existing systems as well as introducing new systems to make transactions faster and more convenient (e.g., analytics, bots).
- Project plan and CX roadmap: Devised a step-by-step plan to modernize not just the contact center but the bank’s entire CX approach.
This consulting project was as much about aligning teams as creating a digital transformation strategy.
The year 2020 saw most in-person interactions replaced with online or virtual transactions. Finance was no exception. As bank branches locked down, customers unaccustomed to online banking were forced to use ABMs, websites, and contact center agents to complete transactions.
During this HGS engagement, 20 leaders from several departments received training on the latest CX techniques.
Over three months, three cross-functional teams identified gaps and prioritized changes required.
HGS created an initial project plan and budget for the digital transformation — with input from all key stakeholders.
And, as promised, the HGS team delivered reliable, actionable recommendations for growth, including:
- A custom data analytics platform with operational and customer journey dashboards
- A voice of the customer (VOC) center of excellence
- Speech and text analytics to mine VOC data
- Conversational voice and text bots for customer self-service
- Learning management system and knowledge management system to improve agent quality
- Social media customer care
The bank manager’s forward thinking led to an informed plan to help the bank integrate core business functions, control costs, and accelerate expansion. The bank, at its own discretion and pace, can now apply resources to execute with confidence. They have taken an important first step toward CX modernization.
Already, this shift in internal perspective has led to some contact center reorganization.
By sifting through all the advanced technology options and moving strategically and cohesively towards a better digital CX, the bank and the region are better poised for growth – even during an economic slowdown.