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How financial brands can balance CX and compliance  

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Steve Murray, line of business director at IPI

 

Today, customer expectations have been driven skyward by the advancements in consumer tech – the likes of Alexa, Siri, and a multitude of mobile apps, have made customers tech-savvy and expecting more from their favourite brands. This is especially true when it comes to the customer experience (CX) journey – they don’t just want to call a bank or their insurance provider on the phone anymore; they want to be able to reach them on social media, video calls or digital channels such as online chat.

But the challenge with financial brands offering services like this is finding the balance between meeting customer expectations and meeting compliance standards with the likes of GDPR, FCA and PCI DSS implemented to keep both consumers and organisations safe. And while typically, our personal devices are secured through integrated biometric capabilities or pre-authorised accounts, the same isn’t always possible when the technology – such as automation – is used commercially. Indeed, as customers become more digital-first and accustomed to this omnichannel approach, financial services brands also need to be able to deliver a secure CX, across multiple platforms, from SMS to webchat.

So, how can financial brands find the balance between modern-day CX and regulatory compliance? Here are three ways to do just that:

 

Automated Identification & Verification (ID&V)

 We’ve all been there, having to manually verify our identity when on a call with a customer service agent from our bank or insurer. It can be tiresome, trying to remember one of many passwords, recall your security question and answer, and enter the pin code you set up years ago. It’s no secret that financial services in particular have very strict compliance standards to meet, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you’re unable to speak to an agent after all that rigmarole.

ID&V tools that use voice analytics are key here. Like speaking to Siri and Alexa, these solutions can identify and verify an individual just through the uniqueness of their voice. Using voice biometrics, these tools use voice patterns to produce unique identification for every caller, making it easier for financial services to authenticate customers, protect against fraudsters, ensure compliance and streamline the customer journey.

 

Pause & Resume technology

 With physical stores and branches closed for extended periods during lockdowns, alternative methods of purchasing skyrocketed during the pandemic. Indeed, according to McKinsey, e-commerce in the UK grew five times faster in 2020 than before the pandemic and PayPal and BigCommerce found that 84.5% of consumers make at least one purchase a month on their mobile devices.

With this in mind, financial services have to ensure that customers can make their card payments securely and efficiently on their platform of choice.

This is where Pause & Resume technology comes in, particularly for over-the-phone payments. Pause & Resume – or ‘stop-start’ – recording technology aims to prevent sensitive authentication data and other confidential information from entering the call recording environment. Consistently a popular way to address some of the compliance regulations, Pause & Resume works by manually or automatically stopping the recording of a call at the very moment the customer provides their confidential card or bank details.

When automated, Pause & Resume is especially beneficial for both compliance and CX – for example, when a recording is paused, the speech is automatically muted with tones periodically injected into the audio stream, preserving the same identity and call length as the original call, protecting call and quality integrity. It also requires no interaction from the agent to initiate the process so they can focus 100% of their attention on the customer experience.

 

Secure omnichannel CX

 Research from McKinsey suggests the majority of consumers who have increased their use of digital and omnichannel services during the pandemic expect to sustain these activities into the future, whereas other research found that 90% of customers expect their interactions to be consistent across all channels. It’s safe to say that omnichannel CX is well and truly here.

To ensure that financial services brands can deliver a consistent, secure and streamlined CX across all platforms and enable customers to share sensitive information – such as card details – on the channel of their choice, omnichannel DTMF Suppression is the technological key. Regarded as the compliance gold standard, Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) Suppression obtains PCI compliance across multiple channels, from phone to webchat to email.

 

DTMF works by blocking sensitive data from the customer service agents and any recording that is in place. On the phone, for example, DTMF generates a series of audio signals to mask the input from a caller’s keypad, so customers can input sensitive data without compromising their security. For payments, the details only go to the Payment Service Provider and the bank meaning customers can shop securely on the channel of their choice.

 

Intent capture

 HubSpot found that 90% of consumers expect an immediate response to a customer support issue, with 60% defining ‘immediate’ as under ten minutes. Indeed, nobody likes to be kept waiting for a response from the customer service team, but it gets worse when you’re put through to the wrong department where agents are unable to help resolve your query. It disrupts our customer journey and negatively affects our impression of that particular brand.

To avoid frustrating customers in this way – and ensure every time a customer returns to that brand, they have a stellar CX – intent capture technology can be invaluable.

Intent capture enables contact centres to find out why customers are getting in touch by utilising the likes of AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to capture the reason for a customer’s call, in real time. Customers can then either be routed through to the best skilled team for the query, or even be routed through to an automated, voice bot or other digital channel option where they can self-serve – all securely. This helps streamline the customer journey, resolving queries in a more efficient manner and ensuring compliance.

Intent capture also provides rich insights to shape future CX. By reviewing and analysing – through speech analytics for example – the data captured at the start of the customer’s journey, organisations can detect patterns in the reasons for calling, and work to resolve pain points.

 

Conclusion

Today’s customer expects their financial services brands to be able to deliver a tech-savvy, multi-channel, secure experience. This presents these brands with the challenge of meeting these expectations whilst also ensuring they meet stringent compliance regulations. With the latest technology and a focus on presenting customers with a consistent experience across all channels, financial services will be well on their way to finding the balance between compliance and CX.

 

 

 

Banking

Wealth Managers and the Future of Trust: Insights from CFA Institute’s 2022 Investor Trust Study

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Author: Rhodri Preece, CFA, Senior Head of Research, CFA Institute

 

Corporate responsibility is more important than ever. Today, many investors expect more than just profit from their financial decisions; they want easy access to financial products and to be able to express personal values through their investments. Crucial to meeting these new investor expectations is trust in the financial services providers that enable investors to build wealth and realise personal goals. Trust is the bedrock of client relationships and investor confidence.

The 2022 CFA Institute Investor Trust Study – the fifth in a biennial series – found that trust levels in financial services among retail and institutional investors have reached an all-time high. Reflecting the views of 3,588 retail investors and 976 institutional investors across 15 markets globally, the report is a barometer of sentiment and an encouraging indicator of the trust gains in financial services.

Wealth managers may want to know how this trust can be cultivated, and how they can enhance it within their own organisations. I outline three key trends that will shape the future of client trust.

 

THE RISE OF ESG

ESG metrics have risen to prominence in recent years, as investors increasingly look at environmental, social and governance factors when assessing risks and opportunities. These metrics have an impact on investor confidence and their propensity to invest; we find that among retail investors, 31% expect ESG investing to result in higher risk-adjusted returns, while 44% are primarily motivated to invest in ESG strategies because they want to express personal values or invest in companies that have a positive impact on society or the environment.

The Trust Study shows us that ESG is stimulating confidence more broadly. Of those surveyed, 78% of institutional investors said the growth of ESG strategies had improved their trust in financial services. 100% of this group expressed an interest in ESG investing strategies, as did 77% of retail investors.

There are also different priorities within ESG strategies, and our study found a clear divide between which issues were top of mind for retail investors compared to institutional investors. Retail investors were more focused on investments that tackled climate change and clean energy use, while institutional investors placed a greater focus on data protection and privacy, and sustainable supply chain management.

What is clear is that the rise of ESG investing is building trust and creating opportunities for new products.

TECHNOLOGY MULTIPLIES TRUST

Technology has the power to democratise finance. In financial services, technological developments have lowered costs and increased access to markets, thereby levelling the playing field. Allowing easy monitoring of investments, digital platforms and apps are empowering more people than ever to engage in investing. For wealth managers, these digital advancements mean an opportunity for improved connection and communication with investors, a strategy that also enhances trust.

The study shows us that the benefits of technology are being felt, with 50% of retail investors and 87% of institutional investors expressing that increased use of technology increases trust in their financial advisers and asset managers, respectively. Technology is also leading to enhanced transparency, with the majority of retail and institutional investors believing that their adviser or investment firms are very transparent.

It’s worth acknowledging here that a taste for technology-based investing varies across age groups. More than 70% of millennials expressed a preference for technology tools to help navigate their investment strategy over a human advisor. Of the over-65s surveyed, however, just 30% expressed the same choice.

 

THE PULL OF PERSONALISATION

How does an investor’s personal connection to their investments manifest? There are two primary ways. The first is to have an adviser who understands you personally, the second is to have investments that achieve your personal objectives and resonate with what you value.

Among retail investors surveyed for the study, 78% expressed a desire for personalised products or services to help them meet their investing needs. Of these, 68% said they’d pay higher fees for this service.

So, what does personalisation actually look like? The study identifies the top three products of interest among retail investors. They are: direct indexing (investment indexes that are tailored to specific needs); impact funds (those that allow investors to pursue strategies designed to achieve specific real-world outcomes); and personalised research (customised for each investor).

When it comes to this last product, it’s worth noting that choosing advisors with shared values is also becoming more significant. Three-quarters of respondents to the survey said having an adviser that shares one’s values is at least somewhat important to them. Another way a personal connection with clients can be established is through a strong brand, and the proportion of retail investors favouring a brand they can trust over individuals they can count on continues to grow; it reached 55% in the 2022 survey, up from 51% in 2020 and 33% in 2016.

 

TRUST IN THE FUTURE

As the pressure on corporations to demonstrate their trustworthiness increases, investors will also look to financial services to bolster trust. Wealth managers that embrace ESG issues and preferences, enhanced technology tools, and personalisation, can demonstrate their value and build durable client relationships over market cycles.

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5 tips to ensure CSR efforts come across as genuine

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By Mick Clark, Managing Director, WePack Ltd

 

Corporate social responsibility – or CSR – is playing an increasingly pivotal role in the long-term success of modern-day companies.

The harsh reality is that only a paltry 46 percent of people trust the brands they buy from. And with more competition than ever in all walks of business, a positive brand reputation needs to be earned or customers will simply take their money elsewhere.

That’s why I share my insights on the importance of CSR in modern business and introduce an effective plan to avoid coming off as disingenuous to your employees and customer base.

The value of CSR

The needs of modern employees and consumers are changing. There is a higher emphasis placed on the ethics and morals of companies and their handling of hot button topics like the environment or social issues.

59 percent of UK workers believe their business should be investing in charitable initiatives. 67 percent of people aged 18-19 feel this way, showing a generational shift in favour of companies that support ethical, social, or environmental causes.

Mick Clark

At WePack, we recognise the importance of this and make sure to regularly donate to a variety of charities including RRT (Rapid Relief Team), and donated £6,000 to the charity’s social causes last year.

An example of good CSR can be found in search engine giant, Google. It has had notable success with its CSR initiatives. Its flagship CSR campaign, Google Green, is a companywide commitment to using clean sources of energy, cutting down on its use of fossil fuels and drastically increasing energy efficiency as a direct response to the climate crisis.

It has been so successful that its data centres now require 50 percent less power to run than the average data centre and it’s poured over $1 billion into jumpstarting renewable energy projects.

Customer attitudes are fundamentally changing, and people are far more concerned about the values that their money could be indirectly supporting. In fact, 71 percent of customers prefer buying from businesses that align directly with their values.

In the modern-day, demonstrating high levels of CSR boosts brand perception. Businesses that make it a priority are more attractive – from an investment standpoint – to both customers and potential stakeholders.

For example, more than a third of consumers are also willing to pay more for a product or service if the business prioritises sustainability specifically – so it pays to be responsible.

Businesses with purpose-driven and ethical goals and proven commitments to CSR help retain employees. Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, and it’s that cohort that is increasingly demanding socially responsible employers.

Those that fail to meet the needs will ultimately see their customers take their purchasing power elsewhere.

Addressing the challenges

As obvious as it may sound for a business to take on as much CSR as possible, many organisations face limitations.

Pressure from investors can disrupt the growth of CSR initiatives. Sometimes, the direction that stakeholders want to take the company doesn’t fully align with plans to target social or environmental issues.

Companies face becoming fixated on linking profitability with CSR programmes. It can be tough to present a genuine CSR programme without it coming across as a marketing ploy – presenting an extra hurdle for businesses to overcome.

Despite the challenges businesses face that are out of their control, many firms unwittingly make their own mistakes that cost them dearly.

For example, businesses can struggle to bolster their CSR programmes if they don’t consult their customers and staff first. A simple survey helps companies decide what issues to put as a priority and target to satisfy their customer base and employees.

Any attempt to create an effective CSR programme needs top-down support. Many businesses wrongly treat CSR as a separate entity, rather than fostering a companywide culture. This can lead any attempt to push back on global issues to appear disingenuous to those looking in.

Shifting the CSR approach

Because of the global shift in public needs and opinions in recent years, businesses need to better demonstrate their efforts to avoid having their campaigns labelled as a box-ticking exercise.

It’s no secret that consumers are doing more research and are becoming more switched on to spotting lacklustre approaches to CSR. Also, everyone can have their say online – it’s much easier to get exposed if your CSR campaign is nothing but an empty publicity stunt.

For example, Volkswagen’s reputation was left in tatters after its ‘greenwashing’ scandal promoted a newer, cleaner diesel vehicle that wasn’t any better for the environment than previous models. The company took it further by fitting a device that helped it cheat emissions tests – resulting in a $125 million fine.

For this reason, CSR campaigns need tangible results to be credible and trustworthy.

Sharing top tips

When it comes to structuring a strong CSR campaign, it’s critical to demonstrate several things to prove your strategy is effective in helping the chosen cause.

Firstly, evidence the fact that your efforts are helping wider communities. Whether it’s through statistics or showing proof of investment in social causes, tangible evidence goes a long way when legitimising your CSR campaign.

Secondly, balance your rhetoric. Effective communications are vital to the success of a campaign. However, it can damage a company’s image when done poorly. Businesses should speak about their chosen issues in their dialogue rather than spending too much time talking about the solutions the company has implemented. This stops them from becoming too self-promotional or sounding braggy.

To further avoid this, make sure you can directly tie your CSR campaign to corporate values and beliefs. As well as helping to strengthen your comms, it will also guarantee that company values are more than just surface-level – helping to facilitate tangible, long-term change.

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