How can businesses empower their front office?

In an ever increasingly hyper-competitive and hyper-digital world, the need to offer an outstanding service has become the most important form of currency.

Playing a key role in this ability to stand out is by having an outstanding front office. In a recent whitepaper by RegTech firm iMeta, the company combined industry thought leadership with findings from its recent Front Office Empowerment survey to understand the challenges faced by those undertaking front office roles.

The ability to empower a front office works in tandem with ensuring business efficiency. According to iMeta, front office empowerment can be described as a number of key things – including driving sales to meet or exceed targets, creating a seamless customer experience, minimising time to revenue, prioritising clients based on revenue generation and driving efficiency gains to increase sales capacity.

Ben Marsh – CEO of iMeta – detailed that with the increased regulatory requirements for financial institutions, the volume of new business that can be onboarded is restricted by capacity challenges as workload increases.

He commented, “While costs are expected to be cut by the business, there are also demands to increase revenue and grow market share. On top of this, the front office is seeing caps put on their pipeline of work to manage the capacity challenges. This begs the question: How do we increase capacity to enable further revenue growth?”

Marsh believes there are two ways to tackle this. The first is that a company aims to automate as much of the onboarding process as possible, reducing headcount, or a firm seeks to optimise the inflow of deals into the pipe using global prioritisation, and re-using data of existing clients looking to onboard a new product, as an example.

iMeta believes that a company can achieve both. Marsh said, “This results in a continuous deal flow and wider pipeline that leads to increased revenue, whilst simultaneously cutting costs through automation and standardisation of processes.”

Survey insights

For the survey, iMeta reached out to front office professionals from a range of financial institutions to get their views of the challenges, opportunities and expectations for the future of the front office.

Many of those who are in the front office sit directly between the customer and the organisation – and as iMeta stated, this often means that they’re the first person the customer calls when something goes wrong, forcing front office and relationship managers to be drawn into a world of operational processes to ensure an expected of customer experience and delivery.

iMeta said this was evidenced by its survey, which found that nine out of ten front office professionals spend more than 20% of their time on admin, KYC, onboarding and fixing broken processes. Meanwhile, 55% of respondents said that they spend over 30% of their time on these process with 30% stating they spend more than 40% of their time on them.

When asked which areas and functions cause them the greatest headache and day-to-day roadblocks, survey respondents said end-to-end onboarding times cause them the greatest headache, while AML and KYC cause them the biggest roadblocks.

In addition the survey found that that if the respondents could regain the time spent on admin, 50% of them would spend it on widening and deepening client relationships, helping to drive up revenue for the company.

Another key area covered in the survey was the issue of poor service linked with long onboarding times. It was found that 40% of respondents believe less than two weeks is good in terms of onboarding timeframes, with only 7% believing that less than a day fell into this same category. Meanwhile, 20% said that onboarding in less than three months is a good timeframe.

iMeta said, “Going forward, clients are going to expect more from financial institutions. FIs need to ensure their house is in order by streamlining internal processes to improve the onboarding experience for their customers, free up capacity of the front office to drive more sales, and critically, hold onto their market share.

“One of the key area where FIs can find efficiencies is through the creation of a global policy and single view of the customer, and by enabling documentation to be re-used across the organisation and the onboarding process. Less onus will then be put on the customer in terms of document requirements and duplication of work will be removed for internal teams.”

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