Email Anxiety and the Omnichannel Opportunity for Financial Firms (Part 1 of 2)

Traditional interactions, typically involving email, are as inefficient and risky as ever

I really dislike using email. And I know you probably do too.

Email is basically a 40 year old message queuing system. How is that helpful? I mean even fax machines could be considered more current (and secure) than email.

While I don’t fully even need to justify this perspective, the data supports it. The New Yorker recently published an article with the words “Miserable” and “Email” in the same sentence. No surprise. Productivity loss is one thing…but then the plot thickens. How about security concerns? How about ransomed email servers?

Why do we still rely so much on email in financial services? Do your traders, your counterparties, your clients love doing business via email? I bet not. They are expecting real-time chat. Or WhatsApp. WeChat. iMessage. Fax (yes there is a healthy market share for it!). Even, dare I say it, via voice? There is not only one better way. There are many better ways. But they need to be synchronized. Orchestrated if you will.

I am fortunate that I interact daily with Symphony’s community daily and this includes the world’s leading financial services firms. Many I talk to are aggressively pursuing a new omni-channel collaboration mentality. It’s more direct. It’s more client-focused. It’s more collaborative. It’s more efficient. And, as a perfect storm hits, the combination of competitive pressures, cost pressures, a deeper customer-focus and even new workforce entrants creating a powerful pressure system for omnichannel. This is already happening. And it will only accelerate.

So, let me ask a tough question: Are you on the leading edge of this?

Last month, we shared a blogpost about operations users being undervalued and what ‘a day in the life’ would look like for a client onboarding analyst if they had better processes and more efficient tech stacks in place to support them. We discussed a typical day of sifting through 1000 emails vs. an alternative, augmented world where real time chat and workflows actually gave back time in the day.

Our quest at Symphony is to build solutions that support our customers’ needs to create transparency, stickiness across platforms and overall provide a better channel for communication. So, why do we communicate the way we do? How has email become the status quo, but yet also a productivity inhibitor (and potentially a major risk factor?

“Black hole” is truly how we describe email within financial operations. How many email pings do you get in a given hour, or even minute? With someone asking for something urgent? There are literally no rules of engagement. And again, email is all about sequence and queuing. It’s about as artificial as it gets. It’s simply inhuman and does not map to the way you actually work by any stretch of the imagination. So, what’s the solution? Next week, part 2 will share an intriguing brainstorm we had at Symphony and perhaps a few ideas that could help. Stay tuned….

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