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How Xebia is Helping Banks Improve Key Processes

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Digital transformation has accelerated in the banking industry since the start of the pandemic. This blog describes some recent digitalization activities a bank undertook with Xebia to improve its customer contact processes and provide differentiated service with increased efficiency.

The challenge

A U.S.-based neo bank began experiencing ongoing high call volumes in its call center. The result was lower customer satisfaction, lower staff productivity, and increased processing costs. To address the challenge, Xebia delivered a 5-week process discovery and consulting project to:

  • Identify issues
  • Propose process and application redesign
  • Propose a business process reengineering blueprint for the entire contact center.

The implementation phase of the project was estimated to take 9 to 10 months. I asked the Xebia executive team to describe the changes they made to some of the processes and platforms that have enabled their client to deliver a differentiated experience for their customers. The questions cover three key areas: call center operation, outgoing wire transfer, and customer verification and authentication.

Call center operation

Q: A key component of your customer experience transformation was standardizing call center processes. Why is it critical to standardize CX processing?

A: For a call center, or any service organization, most activities performed by the staff/agents are repetitive tasks executed as part of facilitating customer requests and inquiries. Hence, it’s important to follow a standardized process so that the training time and effort are reduced and newly onboarded staff can come up the curve very quickly so they can handle customer calls ASAP. From a customer’s standpoint, they must receive a standard experience while interacting with multiple call center agents during a particular service request journey or their entire life cycle with the bank in general.

Q: What were the key components you proposed and implemented for CX process transformation?

A: From a functional point of view, multiple features and capabilities were proposed as part of the overall solution. Primarily these were in two major categories:

  • Inquiry: A unified Customer Servicing Platform that allows agents to have a comprehensive and organized view of the customer profile, product holding, and multiple other criteria that are crucial to handling customer calls. This not only includes system-curated information but also analytically driven variables and personalized recommendations that empower agents to drive more informed conversations and decisions while on a call with the customer
  • Action: The same Customer Servicing Platform consists of mechanisms to perform multiple actions and serve customer requests from the same channel, allowing end-to-end fulfillment and enablement of any customer request. The platform is integrated through the bank’s core systems, which will allow STP loops through a single portal and help the bank improve staff efficiency and overall service experience for the customer.

Q: How did these changes improve CX? What were the benefits achieved?

A: The program is not just a system implementation project. It also includes a revamp of some of the organizational processes and is envisaged to have both tactical and strategic benefits. Some of the expected outcomes are as follows:

  • TAT and call waiting time reduction for the customer through standardized processes: 35% to 75% reduction in TAT depending on sub-process
  • Improved staff efficiency through simplified processes with a reduced number of steps. (16 steps reduced to 4 steps and 17 steps reduced to 11 steps in two key processes)
  • All-round audited actions and service closures for improved governance and security
  • Enabling service staff to drive revenue for the bank through targeted cross-sell recommendations over the portal
  • Reduction in overall staff training time resulting in a reduced overall cost of operations for the department
  • Improved visibility of service ticket journey and overall success KPI matrices for the department.

Outgoing wire transfer

Q: Outgoing wire transfers is a high volume, complex process. Describe for us the ‘As-Is’ process and the ‘To-Be’ process you designed.  

A: Indeed, wire transfer is complex and was one of the primary focus areas of improvement for us during the discovery exercise. Because it was one of the very few processes where the outflow of funds was involved, it became even more important to have the right level of checks and authorizations at each relevant process node even after simplification.

The As-Is Process involved the customer calling up the call center and requesting a wire transfer. After the standard customer verification, the call center agent would send the ‘wire request form’ for the customer to complete, an editable PDF file, which the customer would fill in manually and return to the bank. The customer would then call the contact center again and the form would be cross-verified manually by the agent against information available across various systems within the bank. Once verified, the agent would send the form to the Ops team who would once again verify the information and then post the transaction into the partner bank portal, where a standard maker/checker setup would be followed. After the transaction was posted, the Ops team would also maintain an entry, manually recording the wire transaction and customer details in a centrally-shared file, which would be utilized by the risk teams and other departments of the bank for any reporting or post-facto anomaly identification.

The To-Be Process we designed reduced the manual checkpoints and enhanced them with system checks. This reduced the overhead from call center agents and improved the accuracy of these checks. Further, the information on the customer wire request form was converted to a web form with pre-filled customer profile information. The customer simply verifies the pre-populated information and fills in the specifics about the wire transaction to be executed. The capture of information at each step happens digitally with the help of web forms, making the generation of any logs for post facto transaction reviews simpler and extremely efficient.

Q: What are the key differences in your approach to transforming this process versus alternative possibilities the client was considering? 

A: The fundamental approach towards transforming this process was based on the following guiding principles:

  • Consolidating system touchpoints: As part of serving a request, the call center agent toggles between multiple systems to gather information and act upon it. In the proposed processes, various channels were integrated into one central platform which was used for both inquiry and action purposes
  • Automating decision checks: Wires require checks to be performed during the entire process to ascertain the accuracy of customer-filled information and funds applicability for wire transfer, and these checks were being done through multiple systems. These checks  were  automated, providing huge benefits both in terms of freeing up bandwidth for call center agents and reducing errors that happen with manual checks
  • Improving auditability of every action performed by agents over the platform and providing better visibility at retrievals and on customer inquiries.

Q: How did these changes improve outgoing wire transfers? What were the benefits achieved?

A: TAT will be reduced for the overall process by 77%, which will result in an improved overall customer experience. The number of steps in the process has been reduced from 32 to 7. The process was also proposed for customer-facing channels in self-service mode, which will further release bandwidth for call center agents at the bank.

Customer verification and authentication

Q: Customer verification and authentication is a real-time, complex, regulated process. Describe for us the ‘As-Is’ process and the ‘To-Be’ process you designed.

A: Verification and authorization are regulated and part of every call received at the call center. The As-Is Process involved the contact center agent asking for customer details from the customer and then matching them manually onscreen. Once it was determined that the customer details are accurate, the aAgent would send a multi-factor authentication (MFA) code to the customer’s registered mobile or email. The customer would then be asked to call out the received code which is again verified manually against the code present in front of the agent on-screen.

The To-Be Process we proposed involved a customer calling out his details, which are then input by the agent on the screen present. The verification of this information is carried out by the system and only if it matches with the details in the customer profile will the agent be able to send out the MFA link to the customer on his registered mobile and email. The customer will be able to authenticate by clicking on this link instead of verbally calling out a secure MFA code.

Q: What are the key differences in your approach to transforming this process versus alternative possibilities the client was considering?

A: The approach we proposed makes the customer verification and authentication process more secure and robust. The previous process relied more upon the judgment of an individual sitting at the terminal to verify the customer. In addition, this required the customer to verbally relay sensitive information like an MFA code over a call.

Q: How did these changes improve customer verification and authentication? What were the benefits achieved?

A: Customer verification and authentication previously included a great amount of manual checking to ensure the veracity of the credentials being called out by the customer. The revised process is much more governed and secure. Additionally, it also helps the bank to maintain the suitability of the verification through a system-logged mechanism. The multi-factor authentication approach has also been improved and made more system-guided, resulting in overall improved efficiency and governance around call center operations. Overall, TAT has been reduced by 56%, and the number of process steps has been reduced from 17 to 6.

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