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3 Benefits of Cloud-Based Communications for Financial Services

The financial services sector has been moving along a path of digital transformation for years, with companies turning to advanced technology to meet rising customer expectations and increasingly robust compliance regulations. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the line of thought in financial services is no longer just digital adoption. We’re in a phase of digital acceleration. Transactions and interactions happen virtually, and all customer data lives in the cloud – a phenomenon made possible by cloud-based communications for financial services.

With cloud communications, financial services companies can optimize experiences, resilience, and compliance. They can live up to customer needs today and prepare for what changes the future brings. Let’s look at the specific ways this sector is benefiting from cloud-based communications.

1. Firms Are Delivering High-Level Customer Experience

With cloud-based communications, financial services companies are able to meet customers where they are. Customer experience (CX) is more streamlined, and customer services and sales teams are empowered to provide a personalized experience. Here are some of the ways this happens:

  • Cloud-based communications can integrate with other business applications, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) and sales platform, giving support and sales teams access to up-to-date customer data when interacting with customers.
  • With a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform, financial services firms can communicate with customers via their preferred channel at the touch of a button. Users can communicate using chat, voice, email, or video conferencing, making the delivery of an omnichannel experience feel effortless.
  • With a cloud-based contact center platform with real-time analytics, financial services firms can make staffing decisions and other call flow changes on the fly to ensure their support agents are meeting customers’ needs.

2. Cloud-Based Communications Offers Financial Services Firms Greater Flexibility

During the pandemic, many companies had to go virtual, shifting their services to the digital world. This was a rocky period for some. Newly remote firms had to set up home-based network access, figure out how to facilitate remote conferencing, and create an endpoint security plan.

When Deloitte conducted a flash survey of senior executives in the US financial services industry in April of 2020, it found that the top two concerns among leadership were rethinking and digitizing client interactions and technology upgrades. The bottom line is, firms needed better tools to enable communications and reporting in real time and from anywhere: they needed better cloud technology.

How financial services firms are responding to and learning from COVID-19 and adopting cloud-based communications

For organizations that had already adopted cloud-based communications, this wasn’t a problem. Thanks to the cloud, systems are housed in secure, off-site servers, enabling financial services companies to continue offering reliable, secure, and high-quality services, even without in-person interactions.

Other companies shifted from on-premises PBX phone systems to cloud communications during the pandemic, such as Credit Canada.

This credit counseling company started using Intermedia Contact Center, which allowed them to say goodbye to performance and hardware issues and move forward with a reliable voice solution for their widely distributed teams. They also have been able to scale faster, making it even easier to meet growing customer demand.

Cloud communications enabled financial services companies to thrive during the pandemic because they could digitize interactions and operate with remote teams, but it also allowed them to do this without the added strain of compliance worries from new technology. In fact, with the cloud, maintaining compliance is easier than ever.

3. The Cloud Tackles Compliance Challenges

The reality is, as industry regulations increase, compliance is becoming costlier to maintain. In the Cost of Compliance 2021, a survey involving 720 practitioners in the financial services industry, 62 percent of respondents said they expect to devote more time and resources to compliance issues in 2021.

Financial services firms are saving money and hassle by using cloud-based communications solutions that make compliance easier. For example, Baltimore Capital, a Maryland-based investment advisory firm, started using Intermedia’s Email Archiving, a secure, cloud-based email solution that captures and archives a complete record of all electronic business communications.

Stored securely in an offsite storage system, but easily accessible by the firm, Baltimore Capital is able to meet regulatory compliance requirements mandated by the SEC, FINRA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and FRCP without having to make a large IT investment or hire more staff.

While compliance will always be a necessary obstacle for financial services, choosing the right cloud provider can make dealing with compliance regulations far simpler.

With a cloud provider that offers features designed to address industry regulations, such as configurable retention policies, full-text indexing with search capability, and role-based permissions for accessing archives, insurance firms, brokers, community banks, and other financial services companies can have peace of mind that they are following all necessary rules.

Cloud-Based Communications Are a Foundational Step Toward a More Agile Future

Cloud-based communications, including UCaaS, CCaaS (contact center as a service), and cloud-based email archiving, lead to greater flexibility, better experiences, and easier compliance. But these technologies aren’t the end-all of digital transformation.

They are the beginning – a foundation for a more resilient, more flexible financial services sector post-pandemic. Now that many firms have adopted this technology, the industry has experienced the benefits first-hand. There’s no turning back now.

Cloud communications enable financial services firms to solve the industry’s main challenges pre-pandemic – CX, business continuity, and compliance. To compete, and to be ready for whatever changes the future brings, cloud-based platforms will be an integral part of the IT ecosystem for financial services moving forward.

Intermedia provides leading-edge cloud-communications tools to businesses in the financial sector. Learn more about how Intermedia can empower your firm with Intermedia Unite, Contact Center, SecuriSync File Backup, and more.

About Darcy Mekis