In a perfect world, every banking organization would achieve operational excellence.
Unfortunately, the time-consuming realities of day-to-day operations can get in the way of working toward long-term goals. Pushing through those perceived boundaries will position your company to face whatever challenges arise in the form of competition, regulation changes or market pressures.
The industry-wide desire to attain operational excellence doesn’t yet matching the effort needed to get there. An overwhelming majority of banking CEOs — 74% — reported that continuing to quickly drive digital transformation is critical to staying ahead of the competition, according to a 2022 survey by KPMG. But 46% say they have paused or reduced this vital undertaking. This presents an opportunity for those who resolve to prioritize digitization to actually lead in their space.
Operational excellence isn’t merely a goal that banks reach and check off the to-do list. It’s a mindset that requires dedication to continuous improvement to meet key objectives:
- A consistently excellent customer experience.
- Positioning for agility in response to market conditions.
- A culture that emphasizes employee confidence and job satisfaction.
- Financial stability and growth.
Assuming the occupants of the C-suite are on board and have identified and agreed on the key performance indicators of success, the logical question is: Now what?
- Empower employees to share their experiences and best practices for their jobs. Ask them to identify silos, point out where staff is putting in the most effort for the least amount of return, and isolate pain points that emerge as they respond to customer inquiries.
- Develop or augment the organization’s knowledge management (KM) system. Employee input is helpful at this stage to reveal and deal with duplications and omissions.
- Translate the information to an all-in-one, cloud-based KM software solution. Undoubtedly, the KM software experts have seen it all before and are more than happy to lead a collaboration with a bank on this essential step.
- Implement the software. Once live, it’s an ongoing process; commit to making necessary revisions and updates.
Bank executives often cite budget concerns as a barrier to improvement. But the price tag for not moving toward operational excellence is much higher: loss of market share due to flagging competitiveness, more customer churn and a higher rate of staff attrition. For banks, tolerating the status quo here is like continuing to dust the furniture while the roof leaks water in every room.
Time spent on training also chews up precious staff hours; the best KM software solution can help with that. It can double as a scenario-based training program that helps reduce onboarding time and brings employees to proficiency faster, using real, on-the-job situations.
You might also want to consider adding an element of intelligent automation, or IA, you’re your internal processes. Often confused with artificial intelligence, or AI, IA helps by assuming responsibility for predictable, routine tasks — making employees available to accomplish more high-value work.
AI isn’t likely to replace all human agents, but various apps are already capable of handling duties, including streamlining processes and dealing with what might otherwise become piles of paperwork. Advancing toward operational excellence is simply paramount for a banking organization so it can position itself for the long run in the competitive industry. Happy clients stick around, as do cheerful employees — all of which contribute to a bigger bottom line. Aiming for perfection ultimately saves time and effort, by working smarter, not harder, in this imperfect world.