Driving Back Office Operational Efficiency
Community financial institutions (CFIs) have made great strides in recent years to improve the end-user experience, but account holders aren’t the only users interacting with your platform. Back-office employees – the administrative teams, IT, compliance, accounting, settlements, fraud mitigation, and many more essential FI leaders – must be able to navigate the administrative side of the platform to handle internal projects and resolve account holder issues without running into technical roadblocks or manually correcting user data.
However, tech stacks are often siloed, separated into several distinct systems that don’t communicate with one another, creating an inefficient system for taking care of business on the back end. For the back-office employees interacting with this ecosystem requires extensive time and manual labor, interfering with the larger strategic goals of improving operational efficiencies.
As CFIs determine their strategic objectives and priorities for the new year, leaders have the opportunity to automate back-office tasks and create a true end-to-end, seamless experience to enable employees to focus on the important things – the account holder journey.
There are a few tactics that can help strengthen the digital experience and drive operational efficiency for account holders and back-office staff through open Application Programming Interface (API) driven infrastructure. APIs enable connections between an FI’s core, banking platform, and other fintech tools and empower data sharing between the various applications that power an CFI. With open infrastructure, CFIs can streamline and automate their operations – a key driver of efficiency (and priority for leaders for their strategic growth plans).
Employees have an overwhelming number of tools behind the scenes of the account holder experience. Switching between these disparate tools for accounts and administrative systems to find the account information you are looking for is also called “tabbing.” This constant tabbing between systems to complete tasks impacts both the staff experience and the account holder experience. Consider an account holder calling into their CFI to resolve an issue with their account. If an employee is constantly redirecting the caller to a different department or is prolonging the interaction by revalidating identification information, an account holder may become aggravated by the time-consuming exchange. This experience inevitably impacts the relationship and perception of the CFI and may result in losing an account holder if they don’t feel satisfied or confident in your service. It is also highly inefficient and frustrating for your employees.
APIs make the process of interacting with a CFIs’ applications more streamlined because the systems are communicating and sharing data. When systems are completely integrated, employees can then view all account holder information from one place and automate workflows as well. This way, if an account holder calls their CFI with a query, a single employee can resolve the request and provide holistic account holder support, avoiding the need for multiple identity verifications, time-consuming tabbing and improving service at the CFI. If the platforms aren’t integrated, staff will have to rely on manual data entry, a time-consuming and inefficient task.
Drive Self Service
Many institutions want to drive more self-service to empower consumers to address their needs, at any time and from any place. The easiest way to achieve this is through building user-friendly, intuitively designed platforms. Account holders, especially younger ones, are expecting self-service options from their financial institutions, especially in the age of always-online banking: BAI data finds that 58% of Gen-Z consumers are mobile-centric and expect 24/7 service, advice and convenience from their institutions. Additionally, BAI’s 2023 banking outlook found that the best way to improve banking apps across all age groups is access to 24/7 customer service. Driving self-service for both the end-users and back-end users allows for 24/7 banking and the ability for account holders to address their needs without needing to turn to a human first. One example includes AI-powered chatbots which allow your banking platform to address initial account holder queries digitally, improving efficiency for customer service representatives.
Dynamic Data Access
CFI staff rely on user data for audits and reporting. However, actionable data on how their users interact with their platform is a powerful tool in assessing your existing banking platform and identifying the opportunities to expand your account holder experience. It can be a challenge for staff to interpret anything meaningful from an infinite volume of raw data. Ideally, CFIs can leverage a single console with dynamically generated reporting features, allowing for access to your data at any time. This enables enhanced visibility into how users are interacting with your digital banking platform and its features.
With this information, staff can gain a clearer and more accurate picture of the account holders’ history and complete transaction data and patterns. For example, analysis can help identify opportunities for deepening the account holder's financial relationship through a loan, credit card, or savings account, and employees can send personalized marketing messages to the account holder on their pre-approved product offerings.
Back-office employees need the ability to quickly manage and support retail and business accounts as well as perform administrative tasks from a single system. When you focus on fostering an account holder’s experience, CFIs can transition from building transactional relationships to investing in a deep, advisory role for their account holders, providing insight and more consultative services that today’s consumers desperately need. Driving these efficiencies at the back-office level enables your team to concentrate on the bigger picture and your overarching strategic goals, directly correlating to better end-user experiences.
About the Author:
Marcell King is chief commercial officer and head of product strategy for Tyfone, a leading provider of consumer and commercial digital banking and payment services for community financial institutions throughout the U. S. He oversees Tyfone’s product strategy and execution, sales, marketing, partnership and account management efforts.