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The Power of One: Cost Benefits of a Single Tech Platform for Finservs

Financial services organisations are always looking for ways to streamline operations and reduce costly overheads. But how costly is inaction? A new study from Forrester Consulting shows just how much could be saved with a unified technology platform.

Software platforms have been essential for financial services institutions across the globe for decades, helping businesses automate and streamline processes across every facet of the organisation, and deal with customer interactions.

Out of necessity, multiple platforms have been deployed to deliver what those complex businesses need, with different departments relying on different systems — and expensive APIs to connect them. 

Many financial services businesses still rely on those numerous legacy platforms — however, today, they’re less help, more hindrance. Particularly with ever-increasing competition from emerging fintechs that tend to rely on one platform managing every aspect of the business. 

Recently, Forrester Consulting conducted independent research on behalf of Salesforce into the Total Economic Impact of Salesforce Customer 360 for financial services and insurance organisations. The research proved the true value of operating from a single tech platform, rather than a stitched-together network of legacy systems.

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The research found that for a composite organisation with 4,000 employees and $1.2B annual revenue, the implementation of Salesforce Customer 360 is worth $55m in improved outcomes over three years and $81.3M in operational efficiencies over the same time frame. This is in addition to cost savings of $22M from retiring legacy technology solutions. 

It’s a significant amount of money, and all stems from using one platform across the business.

Powering the profitability of service centres

Service centres have traditionally been cost centres for many financial services businesses, however, by implementing a single platform with real-time data and insights from various touch points across the business, those service centres turn into revenue generators in their own right. 

By having cross-departmental visibility thanks to using one platform, agents have all of the information about the customer available to them. This means that they can help customers resolve issues quickly, and spot upsell and cross-sell opportunities with ease.

The Forrester research found that the implementation of Salesforce Service Cloud saw call centre call handling times improve by 25%, agent time to competency by 66%, and a productivity uplift of around 20-30%. 

Salesforce Sales Cloud, meanwhile, improved the efficiency of completing administrative tasks by 10%, contributing to an increase in revenue.

Another aspect of achieving service centre efficiencies is using technology to minimise human interaction for everyday tasks. 

By enabling customers to self-serve and redeploying human interaction for more complex queries and high-value, high-risk customers, financial services organisations can use their teams more strategically while offering customers the ability to quickly resolve smaller queries themselves.

Improving marketing ROI

Delivering a strong customer experience goes a long way towards improving customer retention — and the research demonstrated that Salesforce Marketing Cloud helped improve marketing campaign effectiveness, impacting customer acquisition too. 

Customer acquisition is one of the largest cost centres for financial services businesses, and having a centralised view and automated processes can help reduce that cost significantly. 

Campaigns, emails, customisations and prebuilt templates within Salesforce mean marketing can quickly become more cost-effective and efficient, and Salesforce also enables the impact of those campaigns to be assessed, helping increase ROI. 

By using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, marketing outcomes saw a 60% improvement in efficiency. Over three years, that is worth $55M to the composite organisation.

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of Salesforce Customer 360 report

Creating an efficient operation

Multiple platforms and systems come with multiple costs — which quickly add up. Maintenance, upgrades and modifications are the norm for any tech solution, and now, with so much scrutiny on the protection of customer data and cybersecurity, each platform has to be up to the task today. 

As businesses evolve, new needs emerge. For example, a new customer data field may be required. With multiple legacy platforms, that one simple change would need to be made numerous times — incurring high costs and long wait times. 

The research from Forrester found that businesses that operated with one platform saw a 50% improvement in efficiency of application and upgrade development and deployment, and improved the efficiency of managing security, compliance and regulation items by 50%. 

In financial terms, for the composite organisation, the ability to work in such a way is worth close to $4M.

Future-proofing financial services

For businesses choosing to implement Salesforce Customer 360 across the organisation, the research identified a range of other benefits that indirectly affect revenue growth and cost management. 

For example, Salesforce Customer 360 drove cross-departmental customer discussion through improved reporting and insights, captured data on discontinued customer journeys that helped generate additional revenue, and improved the efficiency and effectiveness of working with industry partners. 

In addition, as well as improving employee engagement as a result of achieving efficiencies and providing greater customer insights, it also helps future-proof the business, as it can evolve as the world and the industry does. It scales when the business needs it to, and can pivot into new markets if and when priorities change. 

All the while keeping the systems and processes in place that enable the business to continually impress customers — and enjoy significant cost benefits, too.

The importance of delighting customers

For financial services businesses, the ability to attract and retain customers is essential for long-term success. New challengers are entering the market regularly, and often building their businesses on the latest technology. 

Take RACV, a member organisation that offers a range of products and services such as emergency roadside and home assistance, insurance, resorts, other travel services and a fast-emerging sustainable energy business.

With more than two million members, RACV is Victoria’s largest member organisation. It needed a platform that would empower its frontline teams to deliver more personalised support and enable greater ease of engagement through unassisted digital channels.

It moved on from legacy, on-premises technology that slowed down almost every organisational process and furthered a digital transformation. Today, RACV is underpinned by cloud-based technology that’s built on the Salesforce platform. 

Here are some of the benefits it has seen: 

  • Customer support: RACV has set its contact centre agents up for success by equipping them with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. Customer-facing employees can embrace real-time customer data to deliver more meaningful member engagement. 
  • Digital experience: RACV is also dialling up its digital experience, which includes live chat, digital resources and a brand new member’s portal. The members portal, underpinned by Experience Cloud, allows RACV’s members to complete end-to-end transactions online meaning they don’t have to engage RACV’s call centres. 
  • Customer communications: It has also embraced Marketing Cloud to personalise communications using segments and behavioural information. Since making this transition, RACV has seen 15% higher open rates on emails and 4% higher click-through rates. 

Thanks to its transformation efforts, RACV’s employees have a holistic view of its customers’ experience and behaviour. These insights  are fundamental in delivering a first-class service — which is now the expectation. 

For traditional financial services providers, moving from legacy systems to one integrated platform is fundamentally important to growing and evolving the business — and while taking an organisation through a transformational journey is a challenge, it’s fast becoming a necessity for those organisations still relying on a collection of legacy software systems.

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Robert Whitaker More by Robert

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