Connect with us





Jeff Woodland, Director of Verticals at Five9


The financial services industry has always been behind other sectors when it comes to digital transformation. Ingrained cultures alongside ancient financial institutes with legacy systems are tough cookies to crack. However, due to impacts from changing customer expectations, banks and other financial services companies have had to do a complete 180 on what they once thought was good customer service. Other sectors have revolutionised the customer experience model, and the financial services sector is now following suit.

Many people find it difficult to cope with the stress that comes with managing money. Our world revolves around our finances and is essential to everyday living. Being able to speak with a human when they need to discuss concerns and ask questions can put customers mind at ease. Similarly, receiving easily accessible services on whatever channel a customer chooses can improve the customer journey and build brand loyalty.

Those unable to connect customers through the right channel at the right time may begin to see huge impact on customer service that can be detrimental to reputations.


Scale and innovation is essential

Challenger banks like Monzo and Revolut also set a new standard for legacy banks. They offered a different way of banking with digital at the heart and this challenged traditional customer service. As such, traditional banks had to step up. Through scale and innovation, big banks have made significant gains in customer satisfaction over the last decade.

Digital transformation is paying off for financial services but it has also left siloed data and applications which are in need of integration in order to offer the most seamless experience for customers. Technology is essential when it comes to customer experience, but unless it is integrated and connects to all core systems, it cannot deliver its intended value – and may be more costly than it’s worth.


AI for everyday

That consumers have grown increasingly comfortable with interacting with smart devices in a natural and conversational manner shows how this tech can be done right. As a result, there has been a huge shift in consumer behaviour over the last few years, with research suggesting that shopping through voice-activated devices in the UK will be worth £3.2bn by 2022. Customers have come to expect virtual assistants at all points of the purchase journey – and financial services is no exception.

Whether it is through an AI chatbot, over SMS or via email, being able to get a quick, 24/7 response to questions helps to put a customer’s mind at ease. IVAs (Intelligent Virtual Assistants), are a prime example. They are automated, self-service applications that offer capabilities similar to human service and support agents but unlike their human counterparts, they just never rest or take holidays. This means that the customer can be looked after and responded to 24/7, offering that seamless experience that they don’t just want but have come to expect. 

The benefit isn’t just for the customer, however. As adoption of IVAs increases in the financial sector, the benefits are ten-fold for businesses too. Being able to offer automated responses to questions, and only having to use agents for bigger queries and complex issues, frees up valuable time for human agents to focus on more urgent customer enquiries. It also reduces average wait times for customers during busy hours, all whilst delivering a more human experience – one that isn’t actually human.


Creating seamless experiences

While consumers value speed, convenience and the ability to get quick turnaround answers digitally, for financial services, the telephone is still the most used channel when it comes to dealing with personal matters. This is where human contact and technology have to marry up perfectly in order to give the customer a seamless experience.

Customers want to be able to use digital services for tasks such as getting approval for credit cards or making an online transfer, but when it comes to getting a mortgage or making investments, being able to speak to someone is essential. It sounds simple, but too often businesses get it wrong.

For example, customers can get so far online and then have to speak to an advisor. If they get through to the advisor, they then have to repeat what they have already done online. This can be a huge pain point for customers.

This is where technology should be used to enhance human contact. Being able to provide an advisor with an overview of what the customer has already filled out and completed will help create that all important seamless experience. To get it right, financial services have to focus on the contact centre.


Give customers what they want

Now is the time for the contact centre to act as a central “hub” for customers to receive the best experience possible across all channels. Cloud contact centres are more advanced than ever, implementing AI is seeing the industry transform and provide more than the traditional customer services experience.

Those that want to deliver exceptional customer experiences must provide customers with what they want, when they want it. The cloud contact centre is here to deliver integrated services that provide quick, easy, convenient experiences for customers.



Weathering the Crypto Storm




Crypto investors may be left reeling from losses over the last few months. But that is not to say all is lost. The good news is that a crypto bear market is unlike a traditional one, with the high volatility and wide-ranging opportunity meaning no two days, even minutes, are ever the same. Here, Kristjan Kangro, CEO and co-founder of Change, a leading Estonian investment platform, explores:

We’ve all seen the headlines. Some say that the crypto bear market could last two years and that a bitter crypto winter is here. That Bitcoin and the like will continue to slump. But that is not to say it’s time to cash in your chips. While the news reports may, by design, ignite worry or even panic, the reality is that the situation isn’t near as grave as it might appear.

For the first part, this is not the first time that crypto investors have weathered such a storm. By its decentralised nature, crypto is much more changeable than the traditional market. Assets can see huge increases or decreases in price from one day to the next.

It’s also important to note that while the current crash may have a short-term negative impact, in the long-term it could mean that the coins and crypto projects that survive rocket in value. Seen as a ‘cleansing process’ of types, this could offer a good opportunity for newbies to enter the crypto market for the first time ever at historically low prices.

With this in mind, there are several tried and tested investment strategies that can help you weather the current crypto storm and build your wealth throughout.

First up, it’s important to be patient. As with anything in life, it’s never a good idea to react out of fear and panic, but rather consider your options. Remember, this isn’t the first time cryptos have lost value, only to rebound and reach new heights. From my own personal portfolio experience, I do believe there’s a lot to be said for ‘the long-term investor always wins.’

At the same time, do your research. Look at your options, your overall portfolio and the broader financial picture to decide your best course of action. Don’t just buy because others are. Don’t short because others are either. Weigh up your options based on exactly what you have and what level of risk you can afford to take. If you don’t need the cash immediately and it feels right, sit tight and try to wait it out.

It sounds obvious too but, diversify. It’s never wise to have all your eggs in one basket, especially during a bear market. A broad selection of investments will always create a more stable portfolio and mitigate some of the risk. I, for example, always tend to mix up my portfolio with a range of established market leaders and a selection of more niche coins with interesting applications across different sectors. This has continued to serve me well and limit my exposure during any difficult period.

As seen in previous crypto winters gone by, there is also a lot to be said for investing in a downturn. Yes it might not be for the faint hearted. You might even think you’re buying at a low, only to see your assets continue to decline in value. However, it could be a risk that pays off. If your coin has a long-term potential it could be a risk which pays serious dividends.

Depending on your risk appetite, another route could be to move towards passive income opportunities such as yield products. Although the gains might be more conservative, it offers a more gradual, and less exposed way to make a profit. Better still, it involves no continuous trading effort. At Change, for example, since launching our Growth Pocket high-yield account at the end of last year, we’ve helped create 100k euros worth of passive income for our community.

Lastly, although it may be hard, it’s important to try to not buy into all the headlines and ‘expert reviews’, much of which may be designed to scaremonger and capture your attention. This is, after all, not crypto’s first crash. And just like the crypto and traditional bear markets before, it will come to an end probably sooner than you think. The likelihood too is that it will drive best practice, as consumers gravitate to those companies who are regulated and offer a certain level of protection.

Continue Reading


Let’s Not Talk Ourselves into a Slump!



By Dominic Bourquin, Head of the Tax Consultancy and Corporate Finance team at Monahans


In the face of the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures, it is important for businesses in the UK to stay calm and not panic otherwise there is a real chance we could talk ourselves into a recession.

The ONS GDP figures are seen as a key barometer of the strength of our economy. On August 12, the ONS announced a 0.1% estimated decrease in GDP for the quarter ended June 2022.

In my opinion, this can be interpreted in a number of ways. Some might say this is a precursor to a recession later in the year, others might argue that such a small estimated fall in GDP might actually be a rounding and, of course, it is subject to revision later as more data becomes available.

Dominic Bourquin Monahans

There is a real mixed bag behind the figures.  The service sector, the largest sector of the UK economy, has shrunk by 0.4% in the quarter, mainly due to the fall in what is termed health and social work activities – this has been caused by a reduction in coronavirus led activities as the COVID-19 virus has become part of normal life and COVID testing, vaccinations and track and trace activities have reduced.

That said, this fall does hide some bright spots, such as the increase in the wholesale and retail of cars and increases in accommodation and food services partly due to Jubilee related activity.

Of course, all data comparisons are dependent on what is being compared, so, to be too gloomy about the shrinking of the service sector, because we are undertaking less coronavirus related health activity, seems to me like an overreaction – surely the economy recovering from coronavirus so there is less of that sort of activity is a good thing?

In the production sectors, there was an overall increase of 0.5% driven principally by increases in gas and electric power generation and transmission, although mining and quarrying activity was down, but not by much, so the part of the economy that actually produces tangible products has done pretty well, with any falls in sectors within the wider production figures being pretty negligible.

The construction sector performance is usually an early indicator of things to come in the economy and is notoriously cyclical so the rise of 2.3% does not yet signal that a recession is coming.

Expenditure and private spending showed small falls of 0.1% and 0.2%, but again, with these first figures being estimated and subject to revision, there is no reason to panic yet.

I am pretty sure that back in 2010 when George Osborne was Chancellor that we “were in recession” and yet when the figures were revised some months later as more data became available, there had not actually been a recession at all! 0.1% given the size of the UK economy is tiny!

Overall, I am sure the Government and all of us would have much rather seen an increase in GDP, but when the reasons for the fall are examined and we remind ourselves that these are early estimates subject to revision, there is no need to panic yet – they might be indicators of the start of a trend that leads us to a recession, but then again they might not!

The fall in the service sector was caused by a drop off in coronavirus related health activity, which you would expect as the virus recedes, so let’s not talk ourselves into a slump!

Continue Reading



News2 hours ago

Opportunities for NFTs in the Metaverse

By Kaj Burchardi, Managing Director at BCG   The Metaverse is a term we’ve seen creeping into more and more...

Finance2 hours ago

Weathering the Crypto Storm

Crypto investors may be left reeling from losses over the last few months. But that is not to say all...

Top 102 hours ago

How insurers benefit from digitalisation

Oliver Werneyer, CEO & Founder, Imburse   Insurers need to embrace digital transformation to stay relevant. Customers nowadays are well-informed...

Business4 hours ago

The perfect storm: new regulations and an inflationary environment will cause an upswing of M&A and consolidation

By George Netherton, Partner, Head of Europe Insurance & Asset Management at Oliver Wyman   As Q2 results roll in,...

Business4 hours ago

Accounting software: the future is not what it used to be

By Lyndon Stickley, CEO of iplicit; an award-winning accounting software developer Escape your discomfort zone US Navy Seals have a...

Business5 hours ago

Retailers: don’t let today’s complex customs costs land you in hot water

By John Finnerty, Indirect Tax Director at Digital River   Online retailers want to make the most of international opportunities...

Business16 hours ago

Let’s Not Talk Ourselves into a Slump!

By Dominic Bourquin, Head of the Tax Consultancy and Corporate Finance team at Monahans   In the face of the...

Business2 days ago

How established financial organisations can break down the barriers to innovation

By Tim FitzGerald, EMEA Financial Services Sales Manager, InterSystems   Often perceived as more agile and innovative than traditional banking...

Business5 days ago

How can businesses boost employee experience for finance professionals?

By Martin Schirmer, President, Enterprise Service Management, IFS Over the course of the last year, The Great Resignation has seriously...

Business6 days ago

CBDCs: the key to transform cross-border payments

Dr. Ruth Wandhöfer, Board Director at   If you work in finance, you’ll have been hearing a lot about...

Business6 days ago

Green growth: The unstoppable rise of climate technology investment

With the investment community focusing more and more on renewable technologies, investor interest is at an all-time high. Ian Thomas,...

Business6 days ago

Bolstering know your customer processes as regulation tightens

Nick Payne, banking services, customer advisory, SAS UK & Ireland, discusses how new technologies allow financial services companies to develop rigorous KYC...

Finance6 days ago

The penny has dropped – the finance sector needs Data Governance-as-a-Service

By Michael Queenan, Co-Founder and CEO at Nephos Technologies   In our data-driven world, the amount of data is growing...

Business6 days ago

Seven tips for financial services brands using mail

By Cameron Russell, Head of Marketing at Marketreach   Customer experience (CX) is a powerful differentiator for modern brands. If...

Top 106 days ago

Turn the data landfill into an insight goldmine

Andrew Watson, CTO, MHR Today, businesses have access to a wealth of data, with vast amounts of information created daily....

Business6 days ago

A Culture of Cyber Security Throughout Financial Services Organisations

Michael Cantor, CIO, Park Place Technologies Financial Services organisations have long been a top target for cyber-attacks given both the...

Business1 week ago

Financial Stability Board Gives Full Support to Wide LEI Use in Global Payments

Clare Rowley, Head of Business Operations at the Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation The strongest recommendation yet by the Financial...

Business1 week ago

On-demand pay: why payroll needs a modern approach

Byline:  Paul Bartlett, CEO, CloudPay   While the world of work has evolved drastically over the last decade, payroll has...

Business1 week ago

 ‘What should real estate investors be doing now – has the market hit rock bottom or is now the time to buy?’

Korosh Farazad, Founder & Chairman of Farazad Group Ltd.   Following many years of housing prices soaring and competition steadily...

Banking2 weeks ago

Augmented automated underwriting and the evolution of the life insurance market

By Alby van Wyk, Chief Commercial Officer at Munich Re Automation Solutions   It’s almost inevitable. Spend your working life...