How financial service operations can respond to COVID-19 challenges

With over 1 million businesses at risk of going under without financial support, and households trying to manage their outgoings, demands on banks have increased massively. We explore how financial service operations can meet this unprecedented demand.

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Both businesses and individuals are facing massive challenges in navigating the current pandemic. One key challenge for both is maintaining finances and getting access to sources of income.

In turn, this is reflected onto financial services institutions – particularly banks. With over 1 million businesses at risk of going under without financial support, and households trying to manage their outgoings, demands on banks have increased massively.

This has undoubtedly put a lot of pressure on financial services firms. The number of people trying to contact banks has created backlogs in enquiries, while the media is putting the spotlight on cases where banks are not supporting small businesses.

What is creating this lack of responsiveness?

The strain on financial service helplines is immense. Businesses and consumers have reported queues of over 6 hours just to get through to banks’ call centres.

As well as the huge increase in demand, there are other factors which are undermining banks' ability to respond to enquiries:

Depleted workforce: Customer support workers are affected by COVID-19 like everybody else. Illness or contact with those who have been ill will lead to staff self-isolating, reducing the number of employees available to handle queries.

Remote working challenges: Some businesses will not have the call centre and customer management software to facilitate working from home. This may mean workers are still required to travel to an office or must cope with reduced functionality when working remotely.

Capacity: Firms cannot simply hire more workers to manage demand. If working in an office, employees will need to follow social distancing rules, reducing space for new workers. If working remotely, IT challenges would need to be addressed before increasing the number of employees using company systems.

Training: If firms do find the capacity to hire new workers, financial services rules dictate that they must undergo thorough training – usually lasting a minimum of 2 weeks – before they become operational. In addition, trainers may be affected by the remote working challenges listed above, meaning there could be fewer of them available.

This combination of issues is making it much more difficult for banks and other financial services companies to increase capacity at this time of unprecedented demand.

How financial services firms can solve COVID-19 challenges

While these issues are having an impact on the work financial services businesses can do, they are not insurmountable. Through Reed Talent Solutions’ extensive work with financial services companies, we’ve created the following solutions to help banks keep businesses afloat and customers solvent.

Extensive candidate database: As a major provider of high volume contact centre and customer management workers, we can source and screen large numbers of experienced contact centre workers with financial services experience.

Assessments: We’ve helped to adapt existing candidate assessments (including both roleplay and written exercises) to a fully online process, while supporting hiring managers through online video interviews. This maintains the quality of workforce – essential when dealing with sensitive customer complaints.

Fast track screening: Reed Screening has worked closely with the government and DBS / Disclosure Scotland to reduce friction in the vetting and onboarding process. This has removed the need to meet candidates face-to-face to verify their identity. All background checks are completed via an online portal and managed by a 24/7 employment screening team. This enables firms to quickly onboard new fully screened and compliant workers in hours, not days.

Virtual onboarding: All workers are onboarded virtually, via an onboarding app which contains their contract, policies, first day requirements, and introduction to the client, and an overview of their role. This fully branded virtual onboarding process creates the best possible candidate experience.

Training and induction: We’ve helped companies to source, procure and implement an online video conferencing application that delivers virtual training to new workers. The app provides interactive classrooms, along with training material and 1-2-1 chat rooms. This enables businesses to complete vital candidate training and facilitate remote working in a live financial services environment.

While the current environment is tricky for financial services businesses looking to increase numbers of contact centre staff, the steps listed above demonstrate that firms can adapt to the situation and help provide the service businesses and customers need.

To find out more about how Reed Talent Solutions can help your financial services company during COVID-19, contact me to discuss your options today.

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Dan youds
Daniel Youds
Solutions Director

Daniel manages the private sector outsourced sales team for Reed Talent Solutions with a focus on developing sustainable client relationships and delivering new RPO and MSP contracts. Daniel has over 15 years experience in the recruitment sector, with over 10 years at Reed, working in both operations and recruitment outsourcing.

Daniel enjoys the opportunity to build resourcing solutions that make a real difference to our clients, and then see those relationships evolve and grow over time.

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Tim Whitaker is a consultant working on age and employment issues and a Trustee of Wise Age - a specialist employment charity for the over 50s working with employers, policy makers and older workers.

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