Bereavement Desk - Global Bank
The loss of a dear friend, a close relation or, worse still, a life partner can be devastating. But tragically, just when people need the space and time to grieve, they are often denied this right. They are expected to deal with faceless officials and handle intensely personal affairs – such as resolving mortgages and closing multiple bank accounts – for someone they are still mourning.
No-one is denying that unravelling financial affairs can be complex and challenging. This is not a trivial issue. But recent analysis reveals that much of the associated anguish is actually triggered by insensitive banking systems…
Typically, products are organized into domains that are built for the benefit of banks; not customers. Each product silo has its own internally-focused processes with pre-determined workflows. Systems are frequently inflexible and often poorly integrated. So it’s no wonder that bank customers and employees feel deeply frustrated by ‘services’ which show precious little concern or compassion for the bereaved.
This is unacceptable and utterly unnecessary…
as The Bank will readily testify. This bank used to experience the very same issues with its bereavement process. Each product domain corresponded individually with the next of kin. Invariably they asked the same questions and demanded identical evidence – time and time and time again. There was an almost complete absence of joined-up thinking. And as The Bank soon discovered, this was not just bad practice; it was very bad business…
Disillusioned customers reacted in the only way they can hurt a big and seemingly uncaring institution. They withdrew their business. When funds were finally released, incensed families took the money out of The Bank and invested elsewhere. It was a costly lesson – but it led to some much-needed soul-searching.
This is what The Bank discovered:
For a bank that prides itself on ‘Making More Possible’, this was a bitter pill to swallow. The Bank openly concedes that Bereavement is one of its most complex processes. However, it is also a very high profile and emotionally-charged service. Improving performance was, therefore, an absolute imperative. And driven by that single-minded goal, The Bank joined forces with Be Informed to deliver a radically new service.
The starting point
The delivery process began with a series of business workshops. Held with the business owners and product experts, a range of business scenarios and requirements were soon identified. Several new modes of operation were then tested as working prototypes and these were refined into the novel concept of the ‘Bereavement Desk’ (BD)… an entirely new customer-centric process for bereavement and inheritance care underpinned by a supporting case management system.
The BD is the central point for handling all bereavement cases. It facilitates cooperation between customers, customer-facing staff and the many different product domains. Be Informed also delivered the supporting case management system which processes and closes the bank accounts, mortgages and debts of the deceased whilst providing inheritance care for the next of kin.
The complexity inherent in the bank’s product portfolio, internal policies and legislation was captured in business rules. These rules are applied automatically to each situation in order to determine a host of priorities:
Key features of the Bereavement Desk solution:
Some of the key benefits of the Bereavement Desk:
Commenting on the results of the project, Philippe Castermans - Director of Accounts & Customer at The Bank Bank - said:
“Even more important than the Bereavement Desk and its supporting systems is the fact that, through this project, we have learned how to improve the way we innovate as a company.
In the past, we used to spend months writing requirements specifications. We would send them to a development centre and then wait eight to ten months for the first result… only to find that our specifications were not that great to start with!
With Be Informed we can capture ideas, requirements, scenarios, activities and business rules in models. We can visualise them in a working version of the application even during the workshop. This allows for rapid business prototyping and quick validation of business ideas”.