InsightsDecember 14th, 2021
Most financial institutions today are heavily reliant on their systems, vendors and technology partners to ensure the efficient running of their businesses. The level of support they receive from those vendors and partners is therefore of key importance. If the service quality is not up to par, then the client’s business can suffer. Outages, bad data, unacceptable latencies, functional gaps or errors, and unresponsive support staff, can all lead to stressful situations that place unnecessary burdens on firms. In the worst case, poor support from a vendor can result in lost revenues for a firm.
The issue of customer support is particularly relevant right now, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, there has been a lot of M&A activity in the vendor space recently, causing a certain amount of upheaval for the clients of those vendors. Such acquisitions can often lead to a changing culture within the organisation, with new management more focused on generating revenue to satisfy investors, than ensuring existing clients and staff are happy. The outcome is ultimately high turnover of staff, resulting in support teams who are less familiar not only with the systems they are supposed to be servicing, but also with the customers and their requirements. Consequently, service levels can suffer and clients will leave.
Second, the COVID pandemic has led to increased demand on vendors’ support teams. Additional coverage is now needed for staff who do not have the luxury of their internal support teams immediately on hand when working from home. Firms have therefore become increasingly reliant on remote support from their vendors, and some vendors have struggled to deliver.
WHAT CLIENTS EXPECT
Financial institutions pay a significant amount of money to their vendors, and consequently have high expectations around the level of support they should receive. Firms expect their technology providers to understand their business, and to have specialists available to ensure that the product is set up to meet their ongoing requirements.
In practice, this means having well-established procedures throughout the discovery, implementation and onboarding phase, with clear knowledge transfer between the implementation team and the ongoing support team.
If a problem does arise, customers expect a rapid response 24/7, with the ability to speak with a dedicated specialist in their own time zone (ideally in their own language), who can quickly understand the problem and take the necessary measures to address it.
This “human factor” is an essential element of good support. Clients don’t want to be treated as just a number on a support ticket, they want to have a single point of access, with a direct line and direct e-mail address to an individual, backed up by a global team of technologists, developers and business specialists. It doesn’t serve the client well if they have to call around multiple individuals or teams to get a meaningful response (which, unfortunately, is often the case where one vendor has been acquired by another for example, or if the vendor is supporting a number of siloed systems).
Ideally, clients want to have relationships with their vendor partners that are mutually beneficial over the long term. And the most successful client/vendor relationships are consultative in nature, where the vendor has a detailed understanding of how a client is using their system, and can offer advice on how to get the most out of it, on an ongoing basis.
TORA’s Support Philosophy
At TORA, we understand the importance of high-quality support. As a privately-owned company, with a relatively flat, matrix-style organisational structure, we have product specialists in every region and time zone, dedicated to supporting our diverse client base.
TORA is an all in one solution. Our front-to-back portfolio, risk, order and execution management components and our compliance and analytics engines are all built in-house and offered as an integrated, unified platform. Which means that we are not supporting and maintaining disparate systems, with all of the unnecessary reconciliation work that entails.
We have deep expertise in-house, to address any issues that our customers might raise. And as an outsourced trading provider using the technology ourselves, we recognise how essential it is to be able to rapidly draw upon that expertise.
From a staffing perspective, we place a great deal of emphasis on talent acquisition and retention. In fact, TORA’s support staff are all highly experienced, with an average tenure of over five years. This means that they have unrivaled product knowledge and a strong understanding of our customers’ business and functional needs.
We also believe in due diligence when onboarding new customers. We are selective in our sales approach, and always ensure that our solution is a good fit for our customers. That means that we have a very low turnover of customers; when clients partner with TORA, it is for the long term.
In conclusion, we appreciate how reliant financial institutions are on their technology vendors, and we strive to provide the highest levels of service in the business. With TORA, clients can rest assured that their support needs will always be met.