Transforming the Multi Channel Organisation – who’s up for the challenge?

By Anthony O'Hara | January 26, 2017 | Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Financial firms have not found the transition to multi channel an easy one. The face of banking and insurance has changed beyond all recognition in the last ten years, with the rapid growth of digital channels. And many financial institutions have struggled to keep pace with integrating social media and web channels into their business models.

According to research from Eptica, in their study of the ‘multi channel experience,’ banks and insurers, unlike their compadres in retail, lag behind in responding to customers using online and email channels. Providing a high quality customer experience in a multi channel environment doesn’t come easy.

A big obstacle to their adaptation to the multi channel environment is the legacy system issue. Due to the acquisitive nature of the industry back in the 80s, 90s and noughties, most financial firms are built on disparate systems and unconnected networks. As a result, organisations have no way of tracking if their customers have multiple products. But cohesiveness and being joined up is a massive advantage in being able to provide a 360-degree customer experience in a multi-channel world.

Another issue that adds a significant layer of complexity is the amount of change that banks and insurer have to go through. In addition to the digital transformation they are encountering, they are facing unprecedented levels of regulatory change and often corresponding structural change. Ring fencing legislation, for example, looks at how financial firms are structured. Another regulatory priority is MiFID II, which firms have to adhere to by 1st February 2018. Added to this is the “every day” change firms have to go through – software upgrades or implementing new apps or systems.

Managing this change in a multi channel environment, whilst trying to protect the customer experience is the Holy Grail. And to do this, it is vital to stick to best practices that will help you optimise whatever change you might be going through. Although some parts of the organisation will be primed for change other parts may be less ready so you will need a plan and approach to bringing all parts in-step as you progress. Undertaking a ‘readiness assessment’ is a good way to assess the maturity across the organisation at the outset.

Having clear, measurable objectives is the next step to ensure you implement successful change, as is having a senior sponsor for the change and strong leadership to ensure that everything happens as it should. Learning should be cyclical, with lessons learned from undergoing the change, being fed back into the organisation.

Putting the right practices in place will help banks and insurers become successful multi channel organisations and help them address change initiatives in general. With customer loyalty being as fragile as it is in insurance and banking, firms need to have the right approach to business change and be able to plan for business and architectural transformation, whilst minimising risk throughout the delivery life cycle.