Turning Banks and Building Society inbound communication complexity into competitive advantage

Banks and building societies handle thousands of inbound mail documents every day. Reducing the operational cost associated with the processing of these communications remains a core sector goal. But forward-thinking organisations are looking beyond this cost play towards a more strategic approach to inbound communications management.

Financial services businesses are recognising that by increasing the efficiency with which inbound communications are handled they can drive performance improvements which will add to the experience of the end customer. This customer experience is a critical differentiator in today’s competitive market.

It’s not just about mail. As the number of digital touchpoints with customers increases, so too does the back-office complexity to manage these multi-channel interactions. Too often, legacy processes result in siloes of operation, making joined-up and seamless service increasingly challenging.

Additionally, the sector is under huge regulatory pressure – the cost of mis-managing data can run into multiple £millions.

These core issues of reduced operational cost, enhanced customer service and robust compliance are being addressed through one innovative solution – the Digital Mailroom.

Remove multi-channel complexity, accelerate everyday actions

The Digital Mailroom removes cost and complexity and introduces dynamic business advantages. Inbound customer communications are scanned, classified and digitised – removing process inefficiency and providing an agile platform to enable faster, more accurate business decisions.

In this way, everyday customer actions such as new customer onboarding, cheque processing, loan automation, service provision and more are accelerated because critical data reaches decision-makers quickly.  For the customer this simply translates as fast, accurate and efficient service.

Future proof and compliant

The current reality for most organisations is that physical mail still accounts for the majority of customer communications. Digitising this volume of inbound paper and removing inefficient manual processes – not to mention reducing the reliance on expensive mail-processing real-estate – will be the starting point for many. However, digital channels play an increasingly important role in the customer experience, and future-proofing means delivering a consistent level of service across every channel.

The Digital Mailroom intelligently orchestrates every touchpoint with customers, joining the dots and making information workflow-ready for any authorised member of the organisation in seconds.

By digitising inbound communications the Digital Mailroom also provides organisations with a robust and transparent audit trail. Companies can demonstrate the necessary level of compliance – an essential consideration for the sector.

Where to start?

Implementing a Digital Mailroom does not mean overhauling inbound communications processes from top to bottom. Instead, we are helping businesses to identify obvious points-of-pain where digitisation will deliver immediate advantages. From here, additional business functions can be integrated at a pace that suits – every organisation is different.

So what might these pain-points look like for the sector?

1 – The cost of physical mail at physical sites

Businesses have long known that handling physical mail on their own premises is inefficient and expensive. The impact of Covid has served to accelerate strategic thinking around replacing legacy mailrooms with more efficient digital processes. Remote working is now established – this is the future of work. Businesses need solutions that will digitise, classify and route incoming documents to decision-makers wherever they might be based.

2 – Touchpoint inefficiency

Digitisation also serves to remove the number of internal touchpoints associated with inbound communications. In document intensive sectors it is not uncommon for documents to have up to a dozen touch points before a process is completed. A digital mailroom uses machine learning and intelligent automation to extract, verify and integrate data into business workflows, expediting everyday business actions.

3 – Multi-channel complexity

Extending the number of channels through which customers can communicate results in a multitude of interactions arriving at different touchpoints, in different formats, at any time of the day or night. Managing this mix efficiently and securely is a critical challenge for businesses. Not having the agility to meet this challenge is a major cause of slow and inaccurate customer service – not to mention a compliance risk.

4 – Regulatory requirements

Compliance is an ongoing challenge – businesses must stay on top of every amendment to rules and regulations. The digital mailroom provides a robust and comprehensive audit trail from receipt to secure archive. Authorised stakeholders have access to this secure archive at any time, from any location.

5 – Labour intensive payment processing

Processing inbound payments and cheques is time-consuming and labour intensive. Failing to do so in a timely fashion can lead to organisations missing out on cash and can cause friction with customers. The digital mailroom can automate tasks such as reconciling incoming payments and allocating funds to particular accounts, improving process security and driving efficiency.

6 – Over-reliance on manual processes

The processing of inbound communications still relies heavily on manual input. On a daily basis this takes valuable employee hours away from core business activities. Automating these manual activities is an obvious step towards greater cost and process efficiency.

Complexity in, excellence out

Organisations might focus on one of these challenges. Or they might immediately recognise several. But the common thread linking these pain-points is that, left unaddressed, they will all ultimately impact on the user experience of the customer.

Over the last few years, competition for established banks and building societies has ramped up; by the end of 2020 there were 30 recognised challenger banks operating in the UK. The issue of customer service and the customer experience has become a key battleground.

Tackling inbound inefficiency and complexity with a digital mailroom empowers businesses to deliver faster, more convenient interactions and seamless multi-channel service. Customers will be unaware of what is happening behind the scenes to transform legacy back-office processes. But they will quickly recognise a great user experience from an ordinary one. Those businesses acting now are gaining a vital head-start on the competition.