Imagine if your job required you to memorize 5,632 jumpwords just to get your daily work done.

That was an impossible reality for Charles Schwab, a US leader in banking and financial service, said Brendan Heck, Senior Team Manager, Knowledge Management Platform Modernization. “I guarantee you, no one has all 5,600 of those memorized. And it really makes it hard for any new employee to onboard into our system, because you have to learn these to become effective in your job.”

Technology wasn’t helping. In fact, their technology was getting in the way, he shared at a recent Digital Workplace Experience session with Coveo. It was time for a digital transformation.

What’s the Magic Word?

Misspellings, synonyms and full-sentence search weren’t part of the financial services organization’s old enterprise search solution. When customers reached out for help, using their own terminology, it was up to support agents to translate between the human and the system.

And they had to be precise. When the system couldn’t find the right match, it populated the results page with a deluge of all the content it could find, leaving the agent to sift through the wreckage.

“We only could use that magical combination of keywords to really get to the knowledge we needed,” he said. “So, if I didn’t know what I was looking for, I was going to be endlessly searching.”

“Endlessly” isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Our latest commissioned research shows that employees spend 3.6 hours a day just looking for the information they need to do their jobs — a 40% hike over the past year. And 60% said they had to search within four or more data sources.

If their digital transformation was going to succeed in delivering the right information to their employees at the right time, they would need a solution that looked at both the search function and the content behind it. 

Here’s their journey of finding and implementing such a solution, and the five major takeaways from that process.

1. Focus on Your Digital Transformation Objectives

If they were going to measure whether their digital transformation journey was a success, Heck and his team needed to define a few parameters beyond “better search.” He needed to capture where they were headed and why.

Within their organization, that meant boosting both employee and customer experience:

  • Improving time from search-to-click from their baseline of 68 seconds
  • Increasing first call resolution, so customers don’t need to call back
  • Reducing call handle time, so customers get the answers they need quickly
  • Providing a “Google-like” experience that matches user expectations
From Coveo’s 2021 Enterprise Search Survey, 92% of respondents believe users expect a “Google-like” search experience.
Get more survey insightsEbook: Why Do Retail Banks Struggle With Search Relevance?

2. Articulate Your Digital Transformation ROI

Digital innovation won’t happen if leadership isn’t on board — you need funding and support.

In Charles Schwab’s case, Heck estimated that each minute agents wasted searching for information wasn’t only frustrating for their team and their customers, but it was also costing the company. 

For Heck, calculating that cost was integral in building a business case and convincing leadership to fund the initiative. Knowing their baseline search-to-click time, “We did predictions that showed millions of dollars saved over seconds or minutes shaved per each person’s time on their daily calls,” he shared.

Then there were the potential productivity gains. With each saved minute, agents could be helping another customer. “And it reduces the time that it takes for them to get up to speed, to be able to do their jobs and become very proficient at their jobs,” he added.

Even having the ability to track these metrics was a win — something they didn’t have (at least not reliably) before.

Visitors typing into the search box are telling you what they want – and Coveo gives you the power to understand and serve those queries. Learn more about enterprise search analytics.

3. Find The Right Digital Transformation Partner

Intelligent search seemed like a natural place to start for the financial institution. It was the “tip of the spear” for further improvements in knowledge management, it was flashy and exciting for their employees, and they could quickly gauge whether transformational improvements made an impact. 

But before selecting a vendor, Heck and his team evaluated their specific needs and existing resources:

  • Scope: Would they roll it out internally, externally or both?
  • Solution: Would they buy a digital solution from a vendor or build one themselves? Would they invest in a plug-and-play solution or something that needed customization?
  • Connectors: Where did their existing knowledge live?
  • Features: What would they need for both the immediate and more distant future?
  • Entry point: Where could they make the greatest impact?

Knowing they wanted to start with something controllable to test the waters, Heck and his team began their digital workplace transformation strategy with an internal transformation, with the opportunity to expand externally down the road.

And they decided to start with search because they weren’t familiar with the search infrastructure and knowledge management landscape — though eventually that led to improving the way they created, approved, delivered and governed content as well.

“Coveo did a great job when we were working with them to tell us that search is not a magic bullet. Garbage in ultimately equals garbage out,” Heck said.

4. Take Digital Transformation One Bite at a Time

Their digital transformation rollout isn’t yet complete – because financial services is a heavily regulated space, it’ll be two years until they reach that milestone. Still, Heck has learned a few things in the process. The most important: “You can’t do it all at once. Be iterative and take it step-by-step.”

They started their search transformation by running the new Coveo-powered search experience through their UX lab. That was followed by beta tests with a subset of users in production, before a wider release to the customer support team. 

They learned that employees especially loved having search integrated with platforms they were already using via insight panels — and full-sentence search in particular. They also learned where and how to help processes along by adding business-specific featured results and synonyms.

Coveo’s insight panels enable you to pipe knowledge directly into an employee’s workflow, empowering them with up-to-date information — even from instant-messaging systems like Slack.

These small steps allowed them to establish new baselines and get people excited about what was coming next for the financial services company. “A new search flow really gets people excited, and they notice how much quicker they’re able to find the information they need,” Heck said. “That excitement has continued even to this day.”

Looking for more digital workplace transformation ideas?Ebook: Guide to Delivering AI-Powered Employee Experiences

5. Measure Your Digital Transformation Results

With their old search tools, Charles Schwab couldn’t fully trust their analytics. But now they’ve found confidence in their numbers… and they’re telling an encouraging story.

Remember those original digital transformation objectives? Here’s how they’re doing now:

  • Decrease in time from search to click — just by turning on Coveo
  • Agents are finding the right answer faster
  • Decrease in average handle time during their beta program

Heck and his team are elated at their increased adoption rate, given that they haven’t yet switched off their legacy technology. “It is hard to get [people] to change, to move to something new, even when they understand that it’s better,” he said. 

“This is where we’re at already, just by presenting them with a carrot, with something better that they can utilize. They’ve chosen to gravitate towards that.”

Happy Searching — And Happy Finding

Heck hopes that, by the end of 2022, the entire organization will have intelligent search at their fingertips. It’ll become part of their customer experience too. Other digital technology like chatbots, along with segmentation and A/B testing, are on their radar.

“Things are going to be changing very consistently. We’ve already seen that in the past couple of years. And we don’t all quite know exactly how things are going to change from here,” he said.

But he knows two things will remain true: “Knowledge is ever-growing. You have to have teams dedicated to ensuring that you’re constantly paying attention to it and evolving it with the marketplace.”

And for those who search for that knowledge, “Their last best experience is really the bar that they’re going to hold you to.” Zero jumpwords required.

Listen to the full recording, on-demand.

Watch on-demandEmpowering Employees with Intelligent Search

Dig Deeper

Learn more about how Coveo can help enhance user experiences across your financial institution — and drive more profit. 

Accelerate your digital transformation withCoveo Relevance Cloud™ for Financial Services

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About Jackelyn Gill

Jackelyn Gill is a tech storyteller at heart. As a journalist and writer, she’s curious about pretty much everything that crosses her path… and as a marketer, she loves sharing it with everyone who reads her words.

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