It’s hard to know what is happening with the US economy right now. Analysts are saying we are in for a bumpy ride in 2023, others are pointing to some positive indicators that suggest things aren’t that bad. Inflation is slowing down, so maybe the predicted recession will never arrive. Let’s hope so anyway.
Regardless of which economist calls this year correctly there is one thing we can all agree on and that is uncertainty. When there is so much disagreement about economic predictions corporate leaders hold back on new investments and seek out ways to reduce their ongoing costs. As the cliche suggests, the only certainty is uncertainty.
This has clearly been visible in the tech sector. Meta, Amazon, and Twitter have all been laying off employees in recent months, in addition to the innovative startups that all hope to become household names. Analysts mostly blame the layoffs on the interest rate hikes in 2022. As rates go up, the cost to borrow also increases, so companies find financing harder and look to cut costs.
This is even more important in the banking sector. As a strongly regulated industry, banks and financial service companies need capital available. Their balance sheet is regularly scrutinised by regulators. They can’t just follow the example of the tech industry and “move fast and break things.”
What do financial service CFOs (and even CEOs) need right now?
- Predictable costs
- The ability to find greater efficiency in essential processes
- The ability to switch capital expenditure into operating expenditure (where possible)
I can guarantee that every financial service company is exploring these options right now just to ensure they are prepared for any uncertainty. The customer service process is often seen as a cost centre, it’s just the cost of doing business, so this is a great place to start.
This is where an experienced and reliable customer service partner like Quantanite can help. Let’s consider how a partner with deep knowledge of customer service processes can answer all these urgent requirements.
- Predictability: work with a customer service partner to define the customer outcomes you want and then build robust processes that deliver this every time. By agreeing on the performance indicators that really matter you can drive certainty into the cost of your customer service processes and also focus on improving the customer experience.
- Efficiency: this is where a partner can step in and advise based on their international experience in the industry. Can lessons from elsewhere be applied here? Can some processes be delivered offshore? Can processes be streamlined and improved?
- Opex not Capex: by working with a flexible partner you can reduce the need for investment in offices, equipment, and training. Agree on the ongoing service rates and then allow a partner to manage the capital investment required to deliver a service.
Working with a customer service partner also gives you eyes and ears on what customers really want now and what they will want next year. Brand-to-customer interaction has evolved dramatically in the past decade and is now a highly specialised mix of automation, self-service, and customer service with live agents operating across multiple communication channels. Customer care has evolved and a partnership approach gives you the best insights into improving service at the same time as exploring efficiency.
Inflation in the US has been falling for six months now so a recession is not inevitable, but even with these positive indicators, the general economy is still facing uncertainty. There is a need to prepare for various outcomes – improving efficiency will also help when the economy starts growing again so this is a win-win.
Let me know your thoughts on the need for financial service companies to seek out more predictable costs and greater efficiency. Get in touch directly via my LinkedIn if you have any questions.
CC Photo by Ray Reyes