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Vertical Industry Communications: Financial and Insurance Services: Page 2 of 2

Customer Interface
Of course, all finance and insurance companies depend on good customer service to retain their customers, but also to keep costs to a minimum. Thus, almost all finance and insurance firms are major users of contact center technologies and the Contact Center Usage Profile.

However, a major portion of the customer interface is shifting to Web pages, mobile apps, speech interfaces, and artificial intelligence technologies. We are already seeing this in retail investment brokerages and in both consumer and business banking services, and this trend is expected to continue.

Of course, this will modify the Contact Center Usage Profile, as the customer contacts will be expected -- even demanded -- to be provided in the context of the customer's current transaction. We may well see more examples of contact center technology being provided as part of customer-facing applications and Web services, much as we have seen with Amazon Connect in the retail industry as well as from Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) providers.

Retail banking and insurance also include the bank teller or counter agent role. These personnel are entirely engaged in transaction processing for the customer they are facing. The transactions are processed with online applications, so unified communications tools are not needed for these roles. In a few cases, banks are using instant messaging (IM) so that tellers can request a manager's assistance or other support. Essentially, the communications for these roles is provided by the Foundational Usage Profile.

Delivery of Specific Services
This area will vary the most between the finance and insurance industry sub-segments, since this is the actual delivery of the various services. As examples:

  • Issuing a new insurance policy may require involvement of an underwriter, especially if there is an exceptional risk item in the policy. This will most likely be an Information Processing Usage Profile since the underwriter will most likely make the determination from the documents and pictures submitted with the application. Similarly, processing a loan application will require intensive review of valuation, risk, and compliance documents, again served by the Information Processing Usage Profile.
  • Processing a property and casualty insurance claim will require field adjusters to determine the extent of damage to the insured property. This will most likely be a Field Usage Profile situation, since the adjuster will need to work in a mobile setting and will be using some form of software application.
  • Preparing commercial banking services proposals or creating a high net worth investment plan is likely to require the capabilities of the Collaboration Usage Profile.

As you can see, it will be necessary to examine the responsibilities and the workflows needed for the delivery of the specific services and then to match the communications tools to those workflows. However, the three usage profiles named in the bullets above, supplemented by the Foundational Usage Profile, should be sufficient for the range of needs in this group.

Back Office Administration
The back office teams provide the supporting administration for the services of the finance or insurance organization. For example, these important personnel will examine and process account openings or closures, and will respond to customer requests for account changes to addresses, beneficiaries, etc. These personnel perform essentially all of their tasks using the forms or online requests from customers or front-office departments and will process those with online software applications.

Communications with the customer is usually by postal mail, email, or notices in the customer's account. Internal communications with other departments is via automatic notifications that are built into the applications software. Thus, these personnel will be served either by the Information Processing Usage Profile or, in some cases, simply by the Foundational Usage Profile.

Enterprise Support
Most enterprise support value chain communications is provided by the Foundational Services and Information Processing usage profiles . Functional management and executive management, along with their administrative support teams, are communications-intensive jobs, due to oversight and coordination roles. This remains an area for which advanced IP-PBX features are still required, as described in the Management and Administration Usage Profiles.

Finance and insurance industry enterprises are increasingly finding that the business communications needed for the workflows within their value chains are being significantly revised or even eliminated by two major trends.

First, communications tools are being embedded in websites and mobile apps for customer-oriented communications. Customers will need to speak with an employee only when driven by regulations or when needed to assure authorization and minimize risk. Thus, communication system solutions are shifting to the application software and Web services categories and away from the IP-PBX model.

Second, traditional voice or video communications are being replaced or minimized by the functionality of collaboration software packages used by the marketing and business development teams; by the CRM or business software applications used by field personnel in sales, loans, underwriting, claims, etc.; and by the shift to Web-based and computer or mobile device apps in place of generic contact center activities. As stated, contact centers will still be key in this industry sector, but will increasingly focus on exception processing that requires contextual awareness of the customer's online or on-app interaction.

These shifts may be generational, as the screen-oriented, mobile-first younger customers come onstream, but the shifts will definitely require attention in order to keep the enterprise responsive and competitive.

BCStrategies is an industry resource for enterprises, vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing business communications arena. A supplier of objective information on business communications, BCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of the dynamic business communications market.