Financial services institutions are lagging behind telecoms companies in providing online customer service and risk losing clients to non-bank competitors, according to new research by business solutions provider eiStream.
The report, 'In Search of the Digital Back Office: Is the UK Ready for the e-Economy?', reveals that telecoms companies are almost twice as likely as financial services providers to let customers view their documents online. Only 32% of banks and brokerages are able to feed customer data submitted over the Web directly into their administrative systems, compared with well over half (59%) of telecoms companies.
According to Pritesh Kotecha, director eiStream UK and Ireland, telecoms companies are approximately 80% more likely than financial services providers to be able to process customer data and repond quickly back to the consumer.
"With strong brands and large customer bases, telecoms companies are well-placed to make significant inroads in the retail financial services market - particularly with the advent of mobile phone-based banking and the opportunity to move into online billing services," warns Kotecha.
He says that banks have failed to match telecoms companies' levels of investment in back office automation. Three quarters (66%) of standard administrative processing in financial services continues to be carried out using paper-based systems, notes Kotecha, compared with less than half (48%) in telecoms.
Only 21% of the financial services organisations surveyed have implemented imaging and workflow compared with 34% in telecoms. As a result, telephone companies suffer fewer administrative backlogs than are experienced in financial services, says the report. Only 16% of telcos report back office bottlenecks, compared with 21% of financial services providers.