Cost predictability core to banks’ operational recoveries

Subscription-based technologies will not only help regional banks strengthen their own recoveries, but prepare them to better support their communities in the future, says Solange Abou Nasr, Account Director – Strategic Accounts, Avaya

Most of the strategic decisions’ banks in the GCC made in response to the Covid-19 outbreak were underscored by business continuity, employee safety, and continued customer services.

Although the banking sector is typically seen as more technologically-advanced than many other industries, it was only once their branches and contact centres were empty that banks truly recognized they aren’t quite as digitally-adept as they presumed. Many were prepared to transition staff to work-from-home, but the majority of organizations we engaged had their efforts limited to basic video conferencing software. Others faced the added hurdle of needing to expedite remote work training for employees who had never needed to work outside their office before.

While organizations understood government-sanctioned lockdowns would unwind, it became quickly apparent there would not be a return to ‘normal’. Many were – and continue to be – uncertain about how their branches, offices and contact centres would operate in the future. And indeed, many banks are now considering permanent solutions for their work-from-home set-ups.

Banks are fundamental to the long-term recovery. But given the sheer number of people they need to support, combined with ongoing spikes in customer engagements and unprecedented personal and professional challenges, the road ahead appears both bumpy and winding, with crossroads aplenty.

Bank executives are completely focused on increasing digital adoption across their organizations to maintain productivity, quality of service and employee wellbeing. However, they have no desire in making large, upfront investments to be able to digitize their operations and provide their agents with best-in-class tools.

Under current economic and operating conditions, banks, as part of their recovery efforts, are asking: how can we better manage future expenses? How can we forecast where to invest? And where is our priority for investing?

Since the early stages of the outbreak, banks across the GCC – including industry leaders in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi and the UAE – have highlighted the importance of ‘consuming’ technology as a service, particularly the communications tools on which their customer experience (CX) and team collaboration functions rely. As well as helping keep costs down, this model ensures those banks don’t need to limit the usability of their technologies.

Avaya Subscription aligns to these priorities, providing almost instant access to comprehensive unified communications (UC) and contact centre (CC) technologies on a subscription basis. As a result, banks can leverage communications solutions as they need them, scaling their usage requirements to cater for operational demands, and making expenses predictable.

This proves especially beneficial in supporting the varying degrees of recovery in the region. With national governments managing their own unique circumstances – with the UAE and Saudi Arabia well into easing restrictions, for example – banks can align and adapt to those health and safety requirements without jeopardizing their customer service function.

Subscription-based solutions also provide an inroad for cloud adoption to banks that may be very early in their digital transformation roadmaps, particularly those catering for consumers who strongly prefer face-to-face interactions and more personal relationships with agents.

Customer experience was first the domain of the Contact Center Manager, and more recently the CIO. This year, however, it has cemented its place as a priority for CEOs and other business leaders. This serves as an opportunity to validate digital budgets to ensure banks are equipped to adapt quickly to changing customer demands. Subscription-based solutions enable this by stripping away extensive pre-planning in order to accelerate time to value for stakeholders.

In short, Avaya Subscription will not only help banks strengthen their own recoveries but prepare them to better support their communities in the future.