Putting the customer first in financial services
When it comes to poor customer service, companies selling financial products, from insurance to bank accounts never seem to be out of the news. Hot on the heels of record payouts for the misselling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI), card and identity protection company CPP is being investigated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for ‘alleged failings in sales calls’.
Against this background, UK MPs are currently debating a new Financial Services Bill, part of which would introduce a duty for companies to provide similar high levels of care as lawyers. Moving on from existing rules on Treating Customers Fairly, the bill aims to put the needs of the individual consumer at the heart of the design and selling of financial products.
Clearly customer service processes will need to support any new regulations, and in Eptica’s experience technology can help in five key areas:
1 Delivering consistent information
Many misselling cases revolve around customers being given incorrect or inconsistent information by company employees. In the tightly regulated world of financial services it is vital that there is one, clear source of information. Store this in a central knowledgebase and make it available to all customer facing staff and ensure it is simple and easy to use.
2 Providing plain English answers
Like many industries financial services has its fair share of jargon. As much as possible companies need to provide understandable answers, particularly on the web when potential customers are researching your products. Deploy meaning-based search systems that understand questions asked in plain English and give fast, consistent and accurate answers written in the customer’s language.
3 Be truly multi-channel
Customers now want to interact with companies across multiple channels – from bank branches to the internet and even social media. It is therefore vital that information is delivered consistently across every channel and that there is a record of all steps of the customer journey – nothing annoys consumers more than having to repeat or re-enter information when they move channel.
4 Audit trail
Being able to prove that correct procedures were followed and all risks explained is central to selling correctly. Companies need to use technology that records all interactions with the customer, from email and the web to speaking to sales agents in order to create a full audit trail of the customer journey.
5 Have a defined complaints procedure
In the event that customers have a complaint make it clear how the process works and what steps it involves. Use workflow technology to escalate complaints to the correct person and monitor to ensure they are responded to within set timeframes and that the issue is successfully resolved.
With new legislation on its way, the spotlight will continue to focus on financial services customer service. The good news is that properly applied technology and processes can help deliver increased customer satisfaction, whatever type of financial services product you are selling.