In the always-on era, you need to be more flexible and responsive in order to meet the growing expectations for faster service and greater transparency. Let’s explore the differences between the front, mid and back-office and how organisations can break down these operational silos to maximize resource utilisation, improve customer experience, and reduce costs.
Defining the Front vs. Mid vs. Back Office
As the term implies, staff who are the first seen or heard by your customers work in functions known as the front office. These include in-store or branch sales and service people, as well as agents in your call center. Many travel agencies focus their customer experience improvement efforts on the front office, which is short-sighted as the back-office has a huge impact on the customer. In fact, according to Aberdeen Group, the #2 cause of customer dissatisfaction is the back office.
The mid office is typically made up of staff who engage in both customer-facing activities as well as back-end processing functions. For example, the middle office in financial services can include functions such as collections, risk management, and compliance. In insurance, claims adjustors could be considered middle office. They visit clients and gather information via phone to complete reports that are passed on to underwriting for review.
In regards to the customer journey, the back office is where client’s service requests are processed. The speed and accuracy with which they process the work directly impacts your customers’ experience. The back office also includes the people behind-the-scenes in support or administrative roles that keep the agencies operating.
Functions such as accounting, human resources and information technology all fall under back-office operations. They handle work which does not require direct interaction with customers yet is essential for the functioning of your business.
How flexible and responsive your company is depends on how effectively these technologies are integrated.