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Guest blog: Target Group: 'Mutuals must provide fully digitalised and customer-centric solutions if they're to compete'

In a speech delivered at the Building Societies Annual Conference, Target Group's Mark Gilliver called for building societies to keep up with the pace of change so customers receive the seamless experience they deserve and demand.

In a speech delivered at the Building Societies Annual Conference, Target's Mark Gilliver called for building societies to keep up with the pace of change so customers receive the seamless experience they deserve and demand. Gilliver, from the FCA-regulated business processing and software provider, called for building societies to take advantage of emerging developments within the Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) space.  

Mark discussed how the outsourcing market had seen a significant change in recent years, presenting new challenges and opportunities for the sector. He heralded a shift from the traditional people-based BPO industry to a focus on accessible digital platforms that revolutionise customer outcomes. 

Adopt don't Adapt 

Mark called for a much-needed change in focus. Solutions that sit within today's outsourcing sector have developed to a point where buyers can adopt market-leading, customer-centric journeys rather than adapting legacy platforms. 

"A change in appetite and ambition is needed. There's increasing awareness within the UK Financial Services industry and the sectors that support them that customer needs must be at the centre of the ecosystem. Fundamental market forces like digitalisation, propagating platforms, and social change have all expedited this need for change”.

Customer demand for self-service for example, will both improve their experience and reduce the cost to serve. Gartner predicts that in 2022 85 percent of customer service interactions will start with self-service and 88 percent of customers worldwide expect companies to have a self-service portal. 

Digitally native with a human touch

Accessible, digitally native and multi-tenanted digital platforms are critical to enabling full lifecycle customer servicing. An understanding of market forces, the financial services ecosystem and horizon scanning of emerging trends and technologies is critical. 

Mark cautioned that mutuals must maintain care for their long-term client base, who may be less digitally expert. New cohorts should be able to engage with their service through their channel of choice. Mutuals should aspire to provide a genuinely hybrid model. Human and digital touchpoints must seamlessly cohabit to serve a diverse customer base as they make big life decisions.

Collaboration is key

Mark highlighted how ongoing consolidation within Financial Services creates new opportunities for strategic outsourcing approaches. Through acquisition and technology-enabled partnerships, 'full suite' capabilities are coming together to simplify the transformation ambitions of forward-looking buyers. 

Mark made a rallying call for greater sector collaboration, saying: 

"The key to future success will be increased sector collaboration. We must encourage partner collaboration that goes beyond product design. The mutual sector must look to a viable shared approach to non-competitive development such as Open Banking, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Application Programme Interface (API) investments". 

Harnessing the benefits 

By leveraging transformation and cultivating key partnerships, mutuals can deploy accessible and digitally native platforms and marketplaces. This will enable fully optimised customer experience (CX), user journeys, and user experience (UX). Equally important is the opportunity to leverage the data the digitalisation of services provides, including:

  • Rich user analytics for customer profiling
  • A single customer view for personalisation
  • Big data to support service enhancement
  • Insights to inform NPD and innovation

Agility, the key to success

Mark concluded:

"For building societies to create truly digitalised, customer-centric experiences, they need to identify historical barriers that prevent progress. Individually and collectively, mutuals need to find answers to budget and resource constraints. Dependencies on legacy systems mustn't cause stagnation. 

An awareness and understanding of the technology partner landscape are critical to informing decision-making. Short-term contracts with minimal headroom for 3rd party investment were the status quo in the past. We must now look at mid to long-term agreements with shared risk and innovation reward.

This new approach will support rapid adoption and agility in response to market forces. This will deliver excellent customer outcomes and engender loyalty, benefitting the whole sector."

For more information:

See how Target and our parent Tech Mahindra digitalised the entire mortgage application process for customers, lenders, and brokers. Request a demo of our Mortgage Hub platform today. Mortgage Hub is the UK's first digital by design, white-label mortgage origination platform. Book your demo here


The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.

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