12 Dec Human + Tech – The Dream Team?
The value that automation and technological innovation brings is compelling, but a question that looms ahead is: will these innovations eliminate the human element involved, or will they further enable us as humans?
The Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) industry is still relationship-based, and although there is a gradual evolution, customers will still be looking at whom they can trust and do business with – a machine, or a representative of the organisation they are buying from. While the convenience of interacting with a machine or software built for the sole purpose of providing a service cannot be denied, customers prefer the human element, which can only be achieved through building a relationship of trust with an agent.
Historically, BFSI companies haven’t changed very quickly. There has always been a fear accompanying innovation that technology may wipe out the need for several job profiles and functions, leading to large-scale unemployment. But a simple look at trends over the past decade points to the fact that unemployment is actually at an all-time low. What we understand from this is that the rate of innovation, despite making a lot of work easier, and even redundant, is also creating plenty of new opportunities, thereby increasing the scope for employment.
The need for innovation becomes even clearer when we take a look at a few of the problems faced by agents and companies today.
There is no denying the fact that maintaining a minimal rate of attrition helps in sustaining and nurturing the growth trajectory of the organisation. But a quick study of the attrition rate sounds warning signals to the industry. Attrition of agents erodes the trust of the customers and hampers second sales. From 2 years of data about a sales team, it became apparent that 70% of the agents who left belonged to the high activity/low outcome pool. This was due to a complete lack of intervention from the managerial side. No attempt at coaching, or providing useful suggestions to the ‘wet behind the ears’ agents was made. As a result, they quickly lost motivation.
Another problem is the technology gap present in the industry. For the older generation, desktop-based systems involving painstaking data entry is familiar territory, and they aren’t affected too much by the slow pace of innovation. However, with the new age salesperson, who is used to the convenience and ease of use of modern-day apps, learning to use technology that should technically be obsolete is a real challenge. This proves to be an obstacle in the growth of the industry and organisations.
Attracting stronger ( read: millennial) talent in new spaces of technology involves implementing a culture of experimentation, where they are given room to try new things and even fail at times. Empowering them in this way would allow them to make experience and fact-based decisions which would induce large-scale growth in the long run.
The key to progress in BFSI is not eliminating the human agents for more efficient machines, but rather equipping said agents with technology that empowers them to drive productivity and efficiency.
Enter the digitally enabled agent. Someone who has access to the right tools to help enrich their pipeline, build great relationships, and to drastically reduce the amount of time wasted performing mundane tasks such as data entry. These tools may also be virtual assistants which provide timely suggestions to help improve productivity and decide the next best actions.
In an age where technology advances at an exponential rate, we have no choice but to embrace the evolution and use it to our advantage. Such enablement would help remove the challenges faced by BFSI companies in the current era.