In the Era of Consumer Duty, Financial Firms Must Harness Data Driven Insights to Better Understand Their Customers

Derek Boorsma, Head of Financial Services, UK&I at Celonis


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’s Consumer Duty standards have marked a seismic shift in the way that businesses monitor and understand their customers. Rather than just being another regulatory requirement, the financial services sector has entered a new era which must now be driven by broader technological change.

Connecting siloed systems and data to provide an enhanced level of intelligence on customer journeys is now of critical importance to finance firms. Doing so requires the adoption of technologies such as process mining and execution management, which will help businesses for years to come. If harnessed correctly, such technologies will deliver improved outcomes for customers and have a positive impact on bottom line growth.


Capturing siloed data

The disparate workforce and siloed technology landscape of businesses present a significant challenge in managing customer data and insights. Held in everything from data lakes, business intelligence tools, enterprise and legacy systems, to Excel spreadsheets, both operational and regulatory teams have found it difficult to monitor end-to-end customer journeys. But the new Consumer Principle means that firms are required to demonstrate and evidence how they actively deliver good customer outcomes. Understanding every stage of the customer journey is no longer a luxury, but a mandatory requirement.

To put this into medical terms, every facet of a company needs to undergo an MRI to capture value opportunities across its processes, which will impact both them and their customers. By deploying technologies like process mining businesses have the potential to not only meet regulatory requirements, but to truly understand their customers’ outcomes which will ultimately improve business performance and customer satisfaction.

By integrating data across systems, desktops, documents, and event streams, Process mining visually reconstructs your processes to reveal how each customer and colleague interaction is undertaken and the obstacles or inefficiencies that disrupt the firm in achieving the customer outcomes required. Organisations will have the ability to look at processes holistically, identify gaps and potential root causes of adverse customer outcomes and continually monitor the operations in order to take action and evidence the path to compliance.


Monitoring the customer journey in real-time

For organisations grappling with the complexities of regulatory reporting, addressing the problem of disconnected systems will be fundamental. Setting up processes to collate multiple data systems should be a priority, as it allows companies to begin to piece together the many data points along a customer’s journey.

Put simply, collecting this data is not enough; rich data points and metrics must be overlayed with journey interactions to create a digital twin that can be analysed to understand customer outcomes. This is where process mining comes in. Outcomes testing is currently based on retrospective and point-in-time, providing a snapshot of the result/metric of ‘what’ has occurred along the customer journey.

Point-in-time testing doesn’t always provide sufficient data to highlight the critical roadblocks, pain points, and issues across the customer journey and product lifecycle. Likewise, with retrospective testing, you may not be able to identify potential systemic issues in a timely manner. A large number of customers could be impacted before you’re made aware and can take decisive action. Processes are not static, so nor should the way business leaders test and monitor them.

With ongoing monitoring and testing of outcomes driven by process mining, firms can assess the whole customer journey and begin to predict and prevent foreseeable harm across the entire customer journey, in real-time, even within the technology landscape they reside within today.


Rooting out inefficiencies

Process mining provides a holistic view of processes, helping to shed light onto every operational process, highlighting obstacles and inefficiencies. This enables a company to identify and address the problems that may be preventing a company from achieving the right customer outcomes, and helps compliance monitoring become an agile and automated process. This also provides operational views which allow organisations to monitor thousands of internal controls from end-to-end, helping ensure the business is audit-ready.

As Process Mining also works hand-in-hand with automation, operations, analysts and auditors can now be more productive, increasing their capacity to handle greater volumes of cases to drive positive outcomes for the firm and its customers.


A customer-centric future

As financial leaders look to the future in a post-Consumer Duty landscape, they must take greater care in understanding their customers and ultimately ensure they provide a better experience for them. Doing so requires data-driven process insights that will root out unnecessary process inefficiencies in the customer journey and simultaneously optimise the experience for customers and employees alike.

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