In a rapidly changing business environment, agility is an increasingly important differentiator for any organisation.
In highly regulated sectors such as financial services however, it can be particularly challenging to achieve. The concept of ‘agility’ is a hot topic for the financial services sector. The ability to respond rapidly, whether in response to a problem or to demonstrate incremental improvements to a service, is a key component in maintaining competitive advantage – and importantly, in retaining the trust of your customers.
This need for agility is only growing as customers move towards online channels and increase their demands for a faster service. ‘Non-traditional’ financial services organisations are also tempting some people away from high-street banks thanks to their more customer-centric approach. Consumers are less willing to wait for a service and instead want a response now – a challenge that many FS firms often find hard to achieve.
The lack of agility is especially apparent when there is a problem with the service. We recently saw this when some banks experienced IT issues. A perceived failure to rapidly respond to a system error led to widespread customer dissatisfaction and an increase in negative public perceptions. On top of this, the ever changing regulatory landscape has also caused additional pressure for contact centre and back office staff.
But, despite the increasing urgency to adapt and become agile, for many FS firms, agility remains an aspiration rather than a reality. Some businesses are taking tentative steps towards agile approaches in areas of their IT, but most FS business projects and BAU operations are not yet geared up for rapid change and continuous improvement.
When setting up an agile operation, it’s crucial that focus is kept on the key activities that support the customer experience. Where firms get it wrong, it’s invariably because of a disconnect between the process and the needs of the end customer. The business just concentrates on what works for itself rather than mapping out what great service looks like from the customer’s perspective.
At Capita, we seek to give our FS clients the edge by ensuring that continuous improvement is part of BAU operations, and identify and deploy small improvements for existing solutions that realise the shortest possible speed to value. By breaking large-scale changes down into chunks we can deploy them more rapidly, and give our clients’ customers the confidence that these small incremental changes will continually improve the experience.
Importantly, we also have years of expertise when it comes to operating in regulated markets. We are able to combine this knowledge with easily deployable technology and the capability to rapidly recruit and scale processes, enabling us to react more quickly than many smaller businesses. We also use award-winning operational control frameworks that can be used to accelerate many projects within the FS arena.
By continually keeping customers at the forefront of your thinking, consistently reviewing the impact on their journey rather than your process, and seeking to effect incremental improvements, your business can nurture rapid and effective change.