When the FCA first announced the details of its new Consumer Duty, many firms were unclear on 2 key questions: how to achieve compliance and what the long-term impact would be.
As more information emerged, the guiding philosophy became apparent – long-term, proactive harm reduction for customers. This means it’s not enough to review a few processes and communications for the July deadline. Instead, organisations need to rethink their approach to customer experience.
In this blog, we’ll explore 4 steps banks, insurers and wealth and asset managers can take to adapt to Consumer Duty requirements, so they maximise long-term benefits and streamline ongoing compliance.
Step 1: Review your customer-centric approach
Consumer Duty is all about centring customers at the heart of financial services. It’s about making sure they have a clear understanding of every step of every process and what it means for them – thereby improving the connection between products and consumer needs.
Of course, technology plays a crucial role in this. But just as important is a thorough gap analysis across all policies, processes, training and other customer-impacting strategies.
Step 2: Level up your data strategy
Data is integral to Consumer Duty. To predict, promote and demonstrate positive customer outcomes in line with the requirements, you need to integrate data to create a holistic view of the customer experience.
This is challenging because most financial services organisations are replete with legacy systems. Existing IT platforms, software and databases may pose obstacles to compliance if they can’t share data efficiently. For example, some will need to update their customer relationship management (CRM) systems alongside other processes and solutions.
Importantly, it isn’t just about changing tech – it’s about integrating it. Firms must therefore look at how data feeds decision-making and customer support. You need ways to integrate disparate data sources and gain holistic insights that help you make better decisions across the customer lifecycle, including when supporting customers through periods of stress and difficult life events.
Data orchestration solutions – which unify data without touching the underlying systems – can get you towards this unified approach. The true benefits of Consumer Duty then come because you can drill into customer data to understand key differences between outcomes for particular groups. Then, you can then use that insight to reshape processes, strategies and product roadmaps in ways that enhance relationships and reduce harm.
Step 3: Track, map and analyse customer journeys across all channels and touchpoints
Unifying your data will bring benefits long after the initial Consumer Duty deadline has passed. After all, if you don’t have that holistic view within a well-governed approach, your push to better serve customer needs may instead lead to inconsistent decisions and/or incorrect use of personal data.
When you have that single version of the truth from a data perspective, you can map out end-to-end customer journeys, identifying improvement opportunities at every touchpoint so you can enhance the experience for similar customers in future. Importantly, a mature data strategy and infrastructure will let you conduct this analysis at scale, which is vital given the large swathes of data that financial firms collect.
Step 4: Identify and respond to customers in real-time
Once you have this solid foundation of data + customer journeys, you can automate processes and analysis, enabling you to meet customer needs in real-time. In other words, you’re using technology to do the heavy lifting on the data collection and analysis front required to proactively reduce harm.
There’s no one-size-fits-all technology approach here – it will depend on your organisation’s processes and maturity. For example, for those at an earlier stage in their customer-centric transformation, a good next step is to start capturing a steadier feedback cadence across the whole range of interaction touchpoints (e.g., contact centre, branch, digital). By asking questions that map back to the outcomes enshrined in the regulation, firms can use the scores as a ‘north star’ to monitor compliance.
For more mature organisations, it’s about broadening the scope of customer feedback to provide more real-time insight. This real-time capability is critical, given Consumer Duty’s emphasis on taking a proactive approach to harm reduction. With solutions like Engage Hub’s Customer Journey Tracker, you can monitor interactions as they happen (no matter how complex the journey), respond quickly and identify long-term trends that might require strategic pivots.
The July compliance deadline is fast approaching
And for many firms, there’s still a lot to do. Whether it’s consolidating existing data streams, mapping journeys or improving feedback loops, it’s vital to drive progress.
For more information about preparing for Consumer Duty, watch our recent webinar.