How to facilitate the work of personal bankers and enhance the customer customer experience

Internet and mobile technologies have significantly transformed the customer's contact with their bank. Standard banking operations have primarily moved into the digital world. More and more customers are going to the bank branch with more complex requirements that they cannot or do not want to deal with remotely, typically mortgages or investment services.

As the function of the branch in the overall relationship with the client is changing, the role of the personal banker at Komerční banka is also shifting. This person is a consultant for the client's needs, a guide to the financial services offered. His primary role is to look after the customer — to identify their needs and to introduce, explain and help them choose from the wide range of services and options offered by Komerční banka. All this must be done in a way that is not possible at any other contact point — personally and with a human touch.


From a customer experience perspective, a visit to a branch is a significant interaction — an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with the customer and their loyalty. And, of course, the personal banker plays the most crucial role in the whole interaction. Komerční banka was actively looking for ways to better streamline its customer experience. The bank was especially interested in uncovering ways to maximize the ratio of time its personal bankers spend interacting with customers instead of on f manual activities like filling out forms, transcribing data between systems, copying documents, etc. These activities do not add any value to the customer. They are perceived as a waste of time even by the bankers themselves. Excess manual work and lengthy or dysfunctional processes thus have a very negative impact on the customer experience and the banker's employee experience.


From a customer experience perspective, a branch visit is an essential interaction, so it’s important that personal bankers devote as much time as possible trying to meet their customers’ needs instead of on administrative tasks. Specifically, this means optimizing existing workflows and designing new ones to enable bankers to enter client information and requests into the applications they use as efficiently as possible —- immediately and with the least risk of error. Closely related to this is managing, updating and upgrading the application portfolio, CRM, and other IT systems in use. Komerční banka was also one of the first banks on the Czech market to implement software robots that perform some administrative processes instead of bankers and is planning additional significant investments in this area of so-called RPA (robot process automation).


What you don't measure, you don't manage.


However, properly managing these innovation projects and investments requires data from actual operations. But this data only provides unbiased insight into the day-to-day work of a banker and the basis for analysis of productive activities. Identifying bottlenecks in processes and other barriers makes it difficult for a banker to perform their consulting role or diminishes the employee experience.


Proper management of innovation projects, their design, prioritization, implementation, and impact evaluation requires data from actual operations.


The most effective option for systematically extracting data from actual operations is UltimateSuite, a Task Mining software that Komerční banka has also decided to deploy.


Task Mining


Task Mining is a new IT domain related to the more well-known Process Mining. While Process Mining maps and collects data across the company to provide a view of end-to-end processes, Task Mining focuses on the activity of a specific position in a particular task. Task Mining software collects data directly from the operating system, records the sub-operations that an employee must perform in different applications during task processing and provides a complete view of the user's interaction with the application portfolio. Task Mining is often implemented in the back office or call center. However, the collection and analysis of data provide management with insight into the day-to-day operation of the department or branch.. Thanks to Task Mining, management gains a new source of data for its strategic and operational decision-making.


Task Mining gives the company a complete overview of the user's interaction with the application portfolio — a unique insight into the daily operation of the branch and a new source of data for management decision-making.


Deployment


Komerční banka decided to deploy UltimateSuite within its branch network. As a result, several internal departments were involved in the project to gain insight into the daily operations of the branches. In particular, the Lean Team for process automation, Human Resources for employee experience management and Sales Promotion for branch sales stimulation were interested in using UltimateSuite as a new source of data for decision-making and evaluating innovation activities. The entire project was managed by StringData, which has been cooperating with Komerční banka on automation projects for a long time. StringData, as an UltimateSuite partner, has implemented and set up the Task-Mining software at dozens of other companies, so its consulting team was also able to help the bank set up hypotheses and describe the business cases that can be obtained using the new data source.


The bank’s branches in České Budějovice and Opava were selected for the first deployment of UltimateSuite. StringData experts took about two hours to get the UltimateSuite data collection software up and running on the workstations and the bank's server. The deployment itself was then accompanied by a presentation from L2 managers who explained the functioning of the Task-Mining software to the bankers at the respective branches, emphasizing the expectations and possible benefits of the whole project. The bankers welcomed the entire project. They appreciated the efforts to simplify the administrative part of their work, knowing that it will improve the customer experience and the bank’s overall business performance.


Benefits of deploying UltimateSuite within Komerční banka's branch network


Deploying UltimateSuite has led Komerční banka's business process teams, particularly the Lean Six Sigma Team, to gain unique insight into the day-to-day operations of the branch network. Within three weeks of deployment, the first insights, conclusions and answers to business hypotheses crystallized from the data collected. Managers have access to this data primarily through easy-to-understand business reports — general statistics and visualizations set up by StringData consultants that are tailored to their business cases.


Thanks to UltimateSuite, Komerční banka has mapped all its bankers' agendas, including quantifying their time consumption. It confirmed that personal bankers are still burdened with several unproductive activities in the real world that take time away from their primary role, client care, and detract from their employee experience.


Examining the data revealed the most common forms of workflow workarounds and their causes, such as application portfolio response and individual application outages. However, it also showed that bankers spend a lot of time in Outlook. Much of that is over internal communications — they don't use relevant resources, typically intranets, to stay informed about news and workflows.


Another crucial finding revealed that completed projects that were supposed to optimize workflows on the branch network are not fully utilized and thus do not generate the expected benefits. For example, many bankers do not use the time saved by software robots to consult clients' needs and subsequently up-sell/cross-sell. Instead, they wait for an email with the result of the robot's work.


These and other conclusions emerged from an analysis of the actual, repeated behavior of personal bankers. As a result, UltimateSuite reports have become a unique resource for Komerční banka and can be used as a basis for analysis, suggestions and evaluating further efforts to optimize the process. They provide valuable information for identifying optimal workflows, but they are already being used to plan shifts or benchmark individual branches.