These certainly are unprecedented times. We are in the midst of a global pandemic as well as an economic crisis the likes of which the world has never seen. It’s no surprise that consumers and businesses are unsettled. For a modicum of normalcy and to ensure that they’re staying on top of their financial situation, they are relying on access to their bank accounts, investments and 401Ks, insurance, and credit card services with both proactive and reactive actions.
Just as the healthcare industry had to rapidly respond, the financial industry has also been tasked with quickly adjusting to provide the services their customers rely on. It’s the reason the Department of Homeland Security identified both financial services and telecommunications as critical infrastructure.
I couldn’t be prouder of our Financial Industry Solutions team’s quick response. Let me share a few examples where we helped our clients manage through these difficult times.
The Remote Workspace
Like so many other businesses, financial services organizations around the world had to shift hundreds of thousands of employees from an office location to their homes quickly, typically in a matter of days – so advisors and call center agents could keep the pipeline open, handling the influx of inquiries, provide personalized support, and process loan requests.
Creating this new workspace was not a simple task: many needed everything from completely new devices, to secure access to applications that had never been used in an at-home setting, to increased bandwidth and so much more.
Over the last several weeks, to keep the lines of communication to needed services open, our team has delivered tens of thousands of mobile devices to further expand remote worker capability. These devices were essential to provide employees with the tools and applications needed to do their jobs remotely.
For one leading national bank that had to move its call center agents and institutional traders from a centralized location to their homes, the team deployed tablets with access to all call center applications. Then quickly set up a contact center solution to forward incoming calls to those tablets.
We were there to help rapidly augment bandwidth. Over the last month the AT&T team delivered over a terabyte of incremental capacity – and many of those connections were provided in just a day or two.
A San Francisco banking firm was having challenges addressing the increased volume of incoming calls as their consumer and small business customers required assistance. We were there to provide support, scaling their contact center capabilities by over 250%, to quickly increase their capacity and enable them to address their clients incoming queries.
Some banks, advisors and loan offices have continued to remain open during COVID-19 by adopting new physical distancing rules and technology to keep their business running and their patrons safe.
The ability to provide personalized services in-branch can be necessary, particularly for more complex decisions facing small businesses and consumers. Digital applications allow visitors to sign up for appointments to control the number and flow of people in the branch at one time. Before COVID-19, these types of digital applications were a nice to have. Now it’s a necessity.
Financial Institutions are asking for solutions to expand their ability to provide video banking, wealth management, and other advisory services to their clients who may remain hesitant to engage with an advisor face-to-face or who are interested in reducing their in-branch visits.
Security as Usual
This new “normal” has required unique ways of doing business for financial services. However, what isn’t new for this industry is providing critical, highly secure applications that are required to support the financial needs of consumers.
Unfortunately, during times like these bad actors are out there looking to profit. There may be an uptick in fraud – especially as folks receive stimulus checks. With so many more people moving to digital transactions, some sense of cybersecurity is needed as they move assets, make deposits and view balances.
As a result, the financial industry has remained laser-focused on: secure remote access, protecting against email-based attacks and spam, keeping internet browsing safe, and enabling multi-factor authentication for their employees and customers wherever possible to help protect against unauthorized system and account access.
Our “Next Normal”
The financial industry has been busier than ever. Everything that could move online, did move online. The economy, businesses and consumers depended on and needed this transformation to survive.
One thing is for certain – digital transformation is here to stay. Looking ahead, we can fully expect this transformation to continue and we’ll see technology play a more profound role for financial services than it did before this crisis. We’re going to see resilient, innovative and highly digital businesses result from this pandemic.
My team and I look forward to being a part of that journey, providing the innovative, highly secure connectivity services to come, for our customers and our communities.