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Embedding positive changes in response to the crisis

Organisations across Financial Services have undoubtedly demonstrated a flexible and resilient response to this crisis.

From the rapid distribution of over £23bn in Bounce Bank loans to the movement of entire support functions to work from home, firms have redefined processes, realigned focus and reprioritised workloads to allow their people to work safely with the tools they need to support customers at this testing time.

As well as the great challenges that everyone has faced, there are clearly a number of positives that banks and Fintechs can take from this period. These positive actions now need to be refined and embedded to not only survive, but also thrive in the future landscape.

Enabling Remote Working

Nearly all firms have developed remote working policies over the last decade, at varying levels of flexibility. The lockdown measures forced both traditional and more modern thinking workplaces to quickly adapt their working practices to allow key functions to operate effectively within their homes.

Over time this could change the way that we think about organising the workforce, eroding the physical barriers that have often existed across locations.

To embed sustainable, positive remote working changes, firms should:

  • Embed infrastructure, tools, practices and policies that have allowed remote working to be successful into the standard mode of operation for the organisation
  • Train and develop the skills of the workforce so that they can manage and motivate teams as effectively remotely as they can in a physical environment
  • Consider how teams can be structured around capabilities, rather than physical locations

Rapid Digital Changes

Most firms, particularly the incumbents, have streamlined governance and improved release processes to allow for the rapid implementation of digital changes.

We’ve seen customer support solutions that have been on the back burner for months (or years in some cases) finalised and released in a matter of days, a marked increase in digital customer journeys and even new digital products being introduced to the market.

There is no reason why this agility cannot become the norm, even for the most traditional, risk-averse players in the market.

To sustain the rapidity of digital changes, firms should:

  • Replicate and embed the streamlined governance that allowed fast-paced development into their BAU release processes
  • Perform a data-led review of processes across the development and release cycles to hone in on specific areas for long-term improvements
  • Explore how scalable digital technologies – particularly cloud-based solutions – can support regular, iterative change across the organisation

Focus on the customer

There is no doubt that this period has been most difficult on customers, and the financial strain that has been seen in the past months is likely to persist in the challenging economic environment that we are now entering.

This has encouraged banks to introduce positive changes that seek to alleviate the pressure on customers – be it mortgage holidays for retail customers, speedy payment of Bounce Bank loans for SMEs, or the introduction of digital journeys so that all customers can bank without a branch.

To sustain this laser focus on the customer over time, firms should:

  • Review the digital book of work so that customer focused changes are prioritised first
  • Recreate any new digital journeys that have been introduced during this period across all channels. It isn’t enough to simply offer a web-based solution – all journeys should be present through web and mobile channels, on all operating systems
  • Redesign processes to consider the customer at every step when implementing change. This could include greater consideration of Jobs to be Done, detailed Customer Journey Mapping or simply taking a design-led approach to change

The last three months has certainly been testing for everyone. As we start to ease out of lockdown and towards a semblance of normality, it will be vitally important for organisations across financial services to embed these sustainable, long-lasting changes so they can continue supporting customers as effectively as possible.

As well as these focus areas in the short term, Woodhurst has identified 5 additional areas where digital capabilities specifically should be enhanced to better support customers over time.

This research, based on responses from senior leaders across the industry, can be downloaded here.

If you’d like to continue the conversation, please get in touch with Josh Rix.

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