No matter how comfortable we may be with doing things online, when it comes to managing our money, we still seem to want that face-to-face interaction — and a rich, personalized customer experience when that isn’t possible.
As everything becomes more automated, customers crave personal interaction when it comes to their money. The customer experience, therefore, is becoming ever more critical as a way of sustaining trust and making customers comfortable when it comes to their financial plans and investments.
This need is never more real than when a natural or man-made disaster strikes and companies must respond. An organization’s ability to respond quickly and compassionately to meet the needs of their clients or policyholders can be a make-or-break moment in today’s hyper-competitive landscape.
In this competitive environment, customers demand that organizations be wherever they are and be able to respond instantly — especially in the case of disasters. At the same time, financial management and insurance companies must continually manage costs and adapt to changing market demands. This perfect storm of needs has created a near-impossible balancing act for those companies we trust with our financial future.
Rising to this challenge of creating a high-touch customer experience and enabling near immediate response in the event of a disaster, while maintaining organizational adaptability and continually managing costs demands that financial management and insurance companies re-envision the way they deliver services – and the technology stack necessary to do so.
This re-envisionment requires a multi-faceted response that includes everything from new business models and operational structures, to new application approaches and a fresh look at how they use data. Underpinning all of these elements, however, is a foundational technology: the network.
As organizations put the pieces together, therefore, they are turning to software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN), and companies such as Talari Networks, to create a more flexible, cost-effective, and reliable network layer.
An exceptional and personal customer experience has always been an advantage in financial services — even if we didn’t necessarily call it as such.
When it comes to financial management — whether that was investing for the future or buying insurance to protect that financial future — it has always been a relationship-driven interaction. With the rise of consumer, Internet-based technologies, however, companies forgot this truth. Organizations are now rediscovering the need for that personalized customer experience whether that interaction takes place online or at a local office.
There is no mistaking, however, that financial management and insurance companies are now wholly dependent on technology to operate — which, at times, makes the personalized service that customers demand harder to deliver.
Poor performance or the outright inability to access central systems will render a local financial planner or insurance agent entirely helpless to provide the experience customers now demand.
Even something as simple as completing an insurance application or calling a centralized support organization can become impossible when networks become unstable or unavailable.
SD-WAN’s ability to leverage a mix of traditional WAN technologies with low-cost and more readily available broadband connections helps organizations simultaneously lower costs, improve reliability and performance and make it easier to offer services in more diverse and remote locations.
At the same time, the technology’s capability of dynamically routing traffic based on complex business rules — including performance criteria and cost elements — coupled with its central management model enables organizations to strike a critical balance between delivering an exceptional customer experience and continually adapting to changing business needs.
The importance of the customer experience may never be more acute than during a disaster. When calamity strikes, customers clamor for assurances that their financial providers will be able to meet their needs.
At this time of need, the ability for financial management and insurance companies to respond with both speed and compassion is critical. It is also, however, challenging because these same disasters often impact an organization’s ability to access network services and central systems.
SD-WAN technologies offer these companies the ability to rapidly and cost-effectively respond during these types of crises. The ability to use low-cost broadband connections — which are also most likely to remain available and be restored more quickly during a disaster — while maintaining security protocols and being able to centrally and dynamically manage connections make the technology a key enabler during a crisis.
Using this technology, organizations can quickly establish makeshift remote offices, create temporary call centers to provide increased capacity, and dynamically shift and reprioritize their remote assets to best meet their customer’s needs as quickly as possible.
It is easy for business leaders to think about digital transformation exclusively in the context of digital customer interactions or the automation of business processes. But in the financial management and insurance industries, in particular, digital transformation has also impacted the way companies deliver services locally and when face-to-face.
Ironically, the increased reliance on systems can actually put these customer experiences at risk as the dependence on traditional technologies creates a too-static environment.
Financial management and insurance organizations must, therefore, leverage new technologies, such as SD-WAN, and look to industry leaders such as Talari Networks, to help them strike the critical balance between automation, business agility and the customer experience that modern consumers demand.
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