FCA Consumer Duty
Time to panic?
The FCA’s Consumer Duty regime is a big deal. It’s been a long time in consultation, review and preparation and if you are an FCA regulated firm and if you’re not already very familiar with what it means, then it’s probably time to start panicking!
However, it might be that you provide services to a financial services firm at some point along its customers’ journeys, or that you are in a customer-facing part of a financial services firm that tends to be the last involved in these big programmes of work. In which case, what do you need to know?
If that is the case, it will almost certainly pay dividends to take some time to read through the FCA’s documents and guidance, which you can do here. You don’t need to be an expert in it all, but it’s good to be able to put the customer contact tasks in a wider perspective of what’s trying to be achieved, which is “delivering good outcomes for retail customers”.
The Consumer Duty is broad in its scope. It naturally has a major focus on how B2C financial services products and services are designed. As well as the changes at executive level that need to be made to recognise the Consumer Duty’s demands. But – I hope – you don’t need to worry about that, because your colleagues or clients should already have that in hand. Where they might benefit from your help is in how firms communicate with customers and support them. This is where the contact centre and customer engagement teams' detailed understanding of customers and their needs can really help.
1. Customer Communications
Even if you have no direct role in the creation and distribution of automated communications (letters, texts, emails, in-app notifications, etc.) you will have ‘from the horse’s mouth’ an understanding of how they are received, understood and acted upon. Previously firms were obliged to be “clear, fair and not misleading” in their communications. Now they need to be “understandable” to a whole range of customers, in a variety of circumstances, including those considered to be vulnerable.
This is likely to require:
All of which you and your teams are perfectly placed to help with.
Your teams are directly interacting with customers. To do this as well as the Consumer Duty will demand, your people will need the skills and tools to:
If you feel that this is not already the case, then you need to ensure that training, coaching tools and resources are made available to you. If all these elements are already in place, then now might be the time for you to start training the rest of your organisation on these vital skills and aptitudes!
If you’d like to discuss how you are facing up to the Consumer Duty’s customer management challenges, just drop us a line.
New year’s resolutions
How will you make the best of 2023?
Nobody can say that the last few years have been smooth. If we are honest, we’ve been subjected to unprecedented changes and uncertainty for more than half a decade now. Since the Brexit referendum, businesses have been subject to uncertainty long before the pandemic and the current financial challenges that we are seeing. So, as we enter 2023 what are your key goals and how do you intend to ensure that they are consistently delivered?
With so much time potentially lost due to uncertainty in recent years, is there a risk that people are trying to do too much too fast? In doing so, key items are overlooked, and processes become less efficient, as discussed in Steve’s article last month: Is it time to “move more slowly and maintain things”?
Narrowing our focus and prioritising is key to executing our plans. It all sounds so simple in Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution; once you have established what your goals are; be sure to determine how you are measuring success; think about how you ensure that the key inputs are tracked so that your success can be predicted; keep score and check in regularly so that those accountable for delivery are indeed delivering.
We would do this on a daily basis with call centre agents, the metrics are all there in abundance:
These are items which are easy to commit to, track and report back on the following day or week. But this becomes harder to do when we move away from the calling floor.
Why is this?
Well, on one level the answer is simple; we make great efforts as managers (or we should be) to make the task of the front-line agent as easy as possible. You have one focus, (admittedly made up of lots of parts), but essentially answer the call, resolve the issue or make the sale. In some cases, resolve the issue and make the sale. But, once we step out of the operations and into the wider business, there are more moving parts, more conflicting priorities and many decisions that need to be made.
That being said, has the world of work changed in the material sense as much as we expected over the past couple of years? Or have we returned to the way things were, but with a different set of expectations?
So, my wish to you all is that you have a great holiday period, that you have time to recharge, reflect and celebrate your successes from recent years.
We have all been tested but consider this, could you achieve more if you focus on doing fewer things but with full commitment in 2023?
If that means outsourcing your contact centre operations or needing support in finding the right technologies to advance your business, we should have a chat.
Call & Contact Centre Expo 2022
As the east wind blows in the first of the winter frosts, it’s a warming thought to remember a very pleasing and refreshing two days spent at Call & Contact Centre Expo (C&CC Expo) a few weeks ago. Yes, it’s great to see old friends face to face again, but more importantly, it’s energising to see so many great vendors, buyers and influencers interested in what they have to show and tell.
Sixty years ago, in his address in the Assembly Hall at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, President John F. Kennedy said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
My observation about the C&CC Expo this year was that it demonstrated the reality of what we knew was possible ten to twenty years ago in terms of the SaaS business model and the benefits of the API driven economy. The show was dominated by the Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) community and those Value-Added Resellers offering their best choice CCaaS partner, combined with an ‘on the ground’ representation of that CCaaS providers marketplace.
What was so striking to me was how much the show layout itself represented the contact centre technology landscape. With the big CCaaS vendors occupying the premium space, the palm trees in the oasis next to the waterholes, and the specialist application vendors nestled closely around them. The more relevant and important the application vendor, the closer they were to the palm trees and the waterholes. The most relevant and interesting to visit were those application vendors that could help make sense of unstructured data. The less they could, the closer they were to the desert at the back of the hall.
Gartner estimates that unstructured data now represents an astounding 80 - 90% of all new enterprise data, and it’s growing 3X faster than structured data. Remembering JFK’s quote, now take a look at this article published in 2019 Insight-driven organisation | Deloitte Insights.
From an industry veteran’s standpoint, it feels like the future has now arrived. The beauty of SaaS delivering the ‘pay as you go’ CCaaS functionality, combined with a structured array of supporting AI driven application vendors, is that they all demonstrate a slightly different way that their product delivers the same solution to the same old set of problems that we’ve struggled with for decades.
What that means for ‘the contact centre tech’ customer’ is a huge amount of choice and a world of opportunity to refresh and upgrade operational functionality. The key point is that the tech’ on show at C&CC Expo this year gives every buyer (big and small) a chance to improve the engagement process (CX & EX) whilst at the same time, make a significant improvement in margin across the short, medium and long term.
If you need help in understanding what contact centre tech’ is the ‘best fit’ to improve your operating margins over the short, medium and long term, then get in touch. We’re here to help.
Gaming customer services
Is outsourcing the hidden cheat code?
I’ve recently got hooked on the latest big mobile game that is Marvel Snap. A “free-to-play” mobile game, where players collect cards based on Marvel characters, building competitive decks based on those cards’ stats and special powers and then battling other players. It’s fair to say that any spare time between work and dad duties has been taken up with a few games of Snap here and there!
The game itself is simple yet so addictive, becoming a popular hit with gamers world-wide with 12 million downloads in its first month! A real gem of a game for the die-hard Marvel fans (go give it a try).
Yet, as I sat plotting where to place my Iron Man card to double my point count, my thoughts went back to a recent conversation I had with a client. One where the client in question was slightly hesitant about the idea of outsourcing their Gaming customer service requirements to a third party.
Why was this?
Well, when we take a game like Marvel Snap, it's very easy to see all the detail that has gone into a very simple looking game on the face of it. These types of games are really make or break for the developer in question, hence the meticulous planning and detail that goes into creating a game of this standard. So handing over your community management requirements to an outsourced partner can feel like a big bold step to take, one that can really have a negative impact on your player base if not done correctly.
It’s not just the traditional consoles that are delivering the latest games too, mobile gaming’s share of total gaming revenue has climbed significantly over the past decade. Today, mobile gaming is responsible for over half of total gaming revenue (Newzoo). From a customer point of view, its not just the avid console fanatics that can play these games, but anybody with access to the internet can now download their favourite game. This has presented an even bigger headache in terms of the breadth and depth of support that developers are now having to provide to their customers, which is why more and more gaming companies are looking to outsource their customer support requirements.
If sourced properly, the right outsourced partner can help the company to Level Up! their customer service strategy.
Those Level Up! benefits include (but not limited to):
So the next time you are thinking about your customer/community strategy, select Co-op mode and let your outsourced Player 2 enter the game.
Are you looking for help with your Gaming Customer Services/Community Support requirements? If so, get in touch, we have specialised partners on our network who can help with this.
How data drives next-generation Customer Experiences
Results from the Corinium Report
Customer experience management and digitisation has been transforming customer interactions for well over a decade, but the recent pandemic has dramatically accelerated that trend, driving significant new investments in integration and setting a new standard for customer expectations globally.
Today, it’s more important than ever before that enterprises deliver a world-class customer experience for their target audiences. A great CX builds brand loyalty, adding significantly to total customer lifetime value and turning casual customers into word-of-mouth evangelists.
The challenge is that many businesses still struggle to make effective use of their data to help them understand their customers and deliver a highly personalised, interactive experience based on that knowledge.
Earlier this year, analyst firm Corinium Intelligence surveyed data-focused executives from 100 global enterprises about their efforts to create world-class digital customer experiences. The resulting report, entitled How Data is Driving Next Generation Customer Experiences, revealed the top challenges facing global CX brand managers and how the world’s most innovative business leaders are working to overcome them.
Here’s a summary of some of the key findings from that report.
Macroeconomic Challenges Hamper Efforts to Improve CX
The past several years have been volatile, to say the least. The COVID pandemic had massive implications for the global economy, prompting the closure of many brick-and-mortar stores and accelerating digital transformation and cloud adoption in the retail space.
As companies shift into post-pandemic recovery mode, many of the broader economic challenges that originated during the pandemic persist. Supply chain performance has improved, yet the availability of many products and raw materials remains uncertain. Costs are rising. Many companies find it difficult to hire and retain skilled workers.
As a result, automation and cost savings have been key areas of focus, eclipsing efforts to improve overall CX. The Corinium study found that 79% of global CX leaders viewed cost savings as the highest priority, and 74% were focused on a return to “business as usual” in the wake of the pandemic and its aftermath. Many CX leaders feel as if they are merely treading water, rather than moving forward with initiatives that lend strategic value to their organizations.
Harnessing Data for Next-Gen Customer Experiences
The solution is the intelligent application of data. The Corinium study found that only 37% of organisations surveyed have a well-developed enterprise data architecture capable of supporting high-quality, data-driven, and personalized CX.
The companies surveyed by Corinium rated the quality of their CX at an average of 6.7 out of 10. That means most organisations see plenty of room for improvement. Using data to drive a personalised CX is an obvious winning strategy, but many are still poorly equipped to turn that potential into a reality.
The Corinium report outlined seven key business benefits of a data-driven approach to CX. Better targeting and personalisation capabilities, for example, deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time. When companies communicate relevant, timely information, their messages are simply more likely to get through. A holistic data-driven approach increases conversion rates as well, and it improves the customer journey across multiple channels within a company’s omnichannel landscape.
Data Quality and Data Governance Are Key
The authors of the Corinium report noted that problems with data quality and data governance hamper efforts to move forward aggressively and effectively with key initiatives aimed at improving CX. Data accessibility is the number one barrier to creating data-driven customer experiences. Lack of relevant or current data comes in second place.
Legacy systems and a lack of integration are frequent root causes of these problems. Many organizations also lack the kind of current, high-quality data for enrichment, including mobility and geospatial information that add powerful context alongside existing customer data.
Great CX is dependent on a unified and coherent approach to customer communications, yet 56% of respondents in the Corinium study agreed or strongly agreed that siloed, uncoordinated communications prevent their companies from delivering seamless digital experiences for their customers.
Proactive programs to manage data quality at scale are a necessary precursor to personalised, targeted digital CX. Data governance ensures information can be effectively accessed across the internal organisational boundaries that often stand in the way of effective data access.
CX Investments Are on the Rise
According to the CX leaders who responded to Corinium, most have made significant investments in customer communications over the past two years, or they plan to do so in the near future. The most popular initiatives include text messaging technology, customer relationship management software, and omnichannel communications platforms. Data integrity is also a high priority for top global brands, incorporating enterprise integration to eliminate silos, data quality to ensure accuracy and completeness, and data enrichment to provide richer, more valuable context.
To learn more about trends in customer experience management and next-generation CX, download the full Corinium report today.