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Can Unified Communications and Collaboration help Financial Institutions to weather the crisis?

Banks are struggling with of low credibility and low credit. Government bailouts, "sponsored" acquisitions, lay-offs, splits in "good bank" & "bad bank" definitely tough times to be in the Financial Sector.

Even in these difficult times,  innovative institutions around the world are banking on their deployments of IP converged communications, and collaboration tools to differentiate, reduce costs, improve employee productivity and tap on to new revenues.

For example, a 1500+ branches Retail Bank, is starting to turn a higher share of Mortgage and Treasury inquiries at the branch locaitons into new customers and sales. The bank uses desktop video conferencing and web-base screen sharing to give customers a real-time product specialist "on-demand". The immediate ability to respond and the ability to close deals in a single visit drives differentiation and revenues. It strongly contrasts with the prevalent model of roaming sales agents thinly covering 5-10 branches and missing sales opportunities for being in a different branch when the opportunity walks in.

Other company, a major Financial Advisory Services one, with thousands of advisors across the US, is leveraging  the simple desktop integration between Communications Manager and to help the Advisors make a more prospecting calls each day, as well as increase the frequency they talk to clients. Today, from within the application, Advisors just click on a client phone number to have the phone system dial it out. In analogue fashin, the system brings up the right client contact page upon an incoming call. Saving the 2-3 minmutes required to dial out, log client name and call time/duration, Advisors can easily make 5-10 more calls a day from the comfort of their offices.

Other institutions have turned the Website - normally seen as a low-cost self service channel - into a revenue creating asset. They  implemented click-to-call, a feature that allows a customer to request an immediate call back from a product specialist. The best specialist, identified based on the sub-page within the site where the request was triggered, can answer customer questions and help drive sales. For example, an online broker is cross-seling mortgages to it's customers. It has turned 1% of the low cost trading site visitors into applicants for mortgage products. 

Can your institution get inspired by these examples? What new sources of revenue, competitive advantages or cost reduction opportunites through Unified Communications and collaboration can you think of for your piece of the organization?

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