Contact centre assurance, automated end-to-end testing and monitoring firm Hammer is on a mission to support and accelerate the cloud migration plans of financial services firms.
The sector is a key market for Hammer, illustrated by the fact that it already supports the day-to-day operations of six of the top ten global banks and seven of the top ten insurance companies.
The Hammer business was created from the acquisition of Empirix by Infovista last April. Since then, it has launched Hammer Voice Explorer, an innovative solution to analyse, document and auto-generate test scripts for Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. A critical component that fast tracks the delivery and assures a seamless adoption of cloud contact centre technologies.
It has also announced a new international channel partner programme and grown its solution engineering and professional services teams in both the US and Europe.
Driving home the message
Its executives are busy driving home the message that, along with other enterprises, financial services organisations must carefully plan their moves to the cloud to make sure their contact centres are a well-maintained “front door” to their business.
Richard Rodwell is Managing Director of Sales and Channels for the Asia Pacific region and pushing a world view for the company.
Rodwell says: “Through our test automation, system monitoring and service insights, we are in a unique position to assist financial services firms in addressing the challenges they face in today’s cloud migration strategy.
“While CCaaS has helped accelerate the adoption of digital contact centre channels through innovative machine learning and automation technologies, challenges with service quality and performance have not gone away”
Rodwell says that in some cases, certain channels in financial services “simply don’t work” and that sometimes it is best to focus on fewer channels that deliver a consistent customer journey and “familiar” experience.
He cites analyst house Gartner, which recently said that email wasn’t appropriate in many banking settings, as banks could not deliver the responsiveness or timeliness demanded by their customers.
“Some may have written it off, but voice is the default for many customers, and many banks are seeing an increase in calls, especially when it comes to complaints, complicated queries and high-value transactions.”
Banks also need to make sure that customers can easily switch between channels, with context, to help them deal with their enquiries and get a consistent service experience, between websites and the bank’s mobile app, for instance.
“Some also might be surprised that one banker told me that retaining talent in the contact centre was a key priority for his organisation. There is a lot of ‘intellectual property’ in front-line staff, and his teams’ focus was to leverage new technologies to help support his experienced agents in delivering complex and high-value transactions”, says Rodwell.
Rodwell acknowledges that moving to the cloud is a given but will pose different challenges for the traditional banks versus the new digital “challenger” banks.
The challengers are, by their nature, cloud-native and are currently operating in an unregulated environment. Therefore, the established banks will need to leverage extensible software design to create an open ecosystem with its foundations in the cloud with open APIs (application programming interfaces) that plug into experiences – for example, a WhatsApp chat with an agent.
“Legacy banks will obviously be less agile and continue to contend with addressing data sovereignty, industry regulations and data protection demands. The key challenge will be to pool the right data, move away from obsolete infrastructure and identify the right algorithmic tools to drive effective customer experience.”
He says moving forward, the traditional banks may look to improve their financial and banking service infrastructure and processes and at the same time leverage the efficiencies that digitisation has created using a “digital twin”.
Hammer assures that the contact centre operates as designed, whether it’s with a cloud-native challenger bank or a traditional bank operating in two environments. Effective channels between customers and agents are thoroughly tested before they go live and constantly monitored post-implementation to ensure poor experiences become a thing of the past