For many years, the banking sector has outsourced services to provide supporting capabilities at the lowest possible cost. In general, these parties are contracted for several years to deliver transactional work without really providing any extra business value or innovation. The impact on customers is increasing their dissatisfaction and propensity to churn.

However, the leaders in the financial services sector have recognised this and are adopting new strategies to support their clients to deepen the connection with their customers. As a result, alternative delivery and commercial models are now being embraced as agile ways of working are rapidly adopted across the globe to accelerate meaningful change and combat the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there are some shining examples, the last 12 months have exposed the reliance on armies of internal people and offshore services with limited adaptive ability. There can also be limited understanding of the bottom-line value of customer service or satisfaction. Many have reacted quickly by allowing some staff to work from home. Many have rushed to add the latest cloud-based technology to their existing operating model. But, this hasn’t addressed the underlying problem of uncovering the right long-term solution to attract and keep customers, or how to overcome the increasing internal competition for scarce operating expenditure (OPEX) or capital expenditure (CAPEX) investment.

Australian banks have continued to employ large workforces located in central and remote offices, yet it seems they’ve not yet taken the next step. They need to rethink their entire employee base in the context of building and operating a sustainable and optimised customer service delivery model to create tangible value throughout the business.

One path worthy of consideration is to invest in building a trust-based relationship with a flexible outsourced partner who can deliver a better, localised customer experience. Structuring that partnership from the onset to prioritise service improvements and continuous value creation is key to any strategic relationship.

Focusing on the cultural fit and customer service ethos will greatly increase service delivery partners' ability to act as a flexible extension of your brand to provide valuable support to internal teams with competing priorities.

A revised service delivery model should also consider how jobs can be created in all parts of Australia to tap into wider talent pools. This has the positive impact of stimulating economic recovery and provides more resilient business continuity.

This could mean establishing a hybrid workforce by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to work alongside a business's people. AI and automation can help to engage customers more efficiently by freeing up the workforce to manage more complex issues to provide a meaningful service — wherever they live.

When working with an outsourced partner, look for a proven track record that embraces emerging technology and advanced tools while leveraging best practices to deliver not just transformation, but sustainable differentiation. Your chosen partner should also be able to produce robust actionable insights that will uplift your ability to truly know your customer and inform the path to creating trust and connection to deliver exactly what they want when they want it. This approach enables businesses to focus on what they do best, which is the design and delivery of value-adding products and services.

James Johnstone is Datacom’s head of commercial strategy for our Connect business. He is passionate about combining his experience in IT and customer service to advise on how to improve the service experience for our client’s customers.

Related industries
Financial services
Related solutions
Customer experience Contact centres