Substantial business benefits can result from using the world wide web as long as it is part of a total client service strategy and not just a page on the internet. To start with the web is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of having a client services desk open that long is at the least cost prohibitive and arguably pointless if the client can be directed to finding the answer themselves.
Every time a client finds the information they are looking for online, it eliminates the cost of a phone call or an email reply for your organisation, every 480 minutes of avoided phone calls is a full time employee! An extra benefit for organisations is that for regular reporting clients and log in and pull reports direct from your website rather than having them mailed or emailed to them. This client communications channel means that you have a reliable, 24 hours a day first port of call helpdesk for routine and mundane questions, this can be especially helpful for out-of-hours, overseas, long-distance relationships as experienced in the banking and custody business.
Effective use of the web improves client satisfaction. When clients have questions, they want correct answers as soon as practicable. If they can pull the data they desire from their account smoothly and quickly then they too can achieve STP and smooth processes. Within custody being able to receive immediate trade matching information and corporate action data is of prime importance for clients. The web can provide clients with immediate answers to their questions – resulting in higher levels of client satisfaction and retention and all the associated benefits.
The web is also an extremely scalable communications channel, There is virtually no incremental cost when a client finds an answer on a Web site. If that client sends an email, on the other hand, it can cost several EUR for a client service representative (CSR) to respond by mail or telephone call. The ability for a client to download reports and so forth over the web in a secure environment will cut much out from the routines of some CSR’s and allow timely concentration on the subjects that matter to you and your clients. Scalability allows organisations to handle spikes in client demands without having to temporarily add trained CSR’s, phone lines and of course, you don’t have an appreciable drop of quality. It costs close to nothing if there is low business levels and at high points loses very little in performance.
This same scalability is useful for sustaining long-term business growth. Growing companies have found that, by using the web, they can support more clients with more products and services. One of the reasons for this is because they don’t have to continually expand the number of CSR’s proportionately to their business growth, they allow the web to take the strain.
Indeed, the arguments for a web front end are almost unassailable with relatively few peoples experience being a negative one if the website has been built correctly, and this, of course, can be the make or breaking point for many oraganisations venture into the world of web front end relationships.
It is vital for any company considering embarking on a web front end exercise with clients to consider the world wide web as not just a sales tool but as a client satisfaction tool. The website should ensure that it compliments existing communications channels with guidance for clients looking for information with secure one-click access to service-related content. You don’t want to lose clients to your organisational charts when they are trying to find their prematching data in Jakarta. To build an effective relationship and sales enhancing web front end companies must remember that this will normally require collaboration across departments and a company-wide sponsor should be considered for the best solution, both for the project and for future maintenance.
Gary HARAN DOYLE is a independent consultant and business analyst specialising in custody and work flow systems.