July 2023: FCA consumer Duty will put your contact centre’s compliance and quality management capabilities squarely in the spotlight.
As retail financial service organizations are discovering yet again, navigating the regulatory environment never gets easier; any movement leads in the direction of new and more stringent mandates. By July 2023, industry players will be required to comply with the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Consumer Duty of Care (CDC) rules, compelling financial service providers to “act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers” relating to:
Points of emphasis that should be included in any FCA Consumer Duty summary are:
Per the FCA’s website, the rules require contact centres to step directly into their customers’ shoes and consider their needs, characteristics and objectives. This includes customers that fall into the FCA’s definition of “vulnerable”. Every step of the customer journey must be examined, and the company must act to deliver good customer outcomes at each step. Moreover, they may be required to prove they’re achieving those outcomes for customers.
"Vulnerable" customers include the following:
Estimates are that approximately 50 percent of the adult population falls into one or more of these categories. That’s an important statistic for companies regulated by the FCA Consumer Duty mandates since they'll need to show that they’re monitoring a large enough sample of their transactions to ensure they are picking up on vulnerable customers. Moreover, they’ll need to prove their treatment of vulnerable customers is in line with the rules specified in the CDC.
The implications of the new CDC directives touch on everything from company culture to the customer journey. However, looking at it more narrowly, from a day-to-day operational perspective (where the rubber meets the road), all roads emanating from CDC lead directly to your contact centre and its compliance and quality management tools and processes.
Everything’s in play, from improving your contact centre’s service levels and reporting capabilities to advancing your agents’ skills and your analytics competencies. In short, you need to harden your contact centre operation or risk falling short of the CDC mandates. Your contact centre workforce optimization (WFO) software will play an outsized role in determining success or failure.
Contact centre’s in the retail finance industry can only ensure compliance with the consumer duty mandates if their leadership can exercise control over the thousands or tens of thousands of inbound or outgoing interactions their organization handles daily. Certain capabilities within a WFO solution are absolute necessities when it comes to maximizing that control:
Beyond just capturing and storing every interaction lies the ability to analyze each of them – or at least a large percentage - because large-sample analytics yields accurate decision-making insights that can directly impact an organization’s ability to comply with FCA Consumer Duty rules.
For instance, in the case of voice interactions, a financial services organization might be well-served to know if agents in their call centre are using keywords or phrases in their conversations with vulnerable customers that might raise a red flag with auditors. Or it could be helpful to analyze speech patterns, voice inflection and even periods of silence during a voice interaction to identify moments of customer frustration or agent unpreparedness. Essentially, contact centre managers in the financial products/services industry can use any number of interaction recording and speech analytics tools to gain insight into the organization’s CDC compliance efforts, insights they can use to:
The FCA Consumer Duty mandates are just the next step in the industry’s evolution, which is always (and appropriately so) pushing to raise the standards for customer service, satisfaction and protection. Look at it as a mandate for improvement. Achieving that mandate won’t be easy, but it will be easier - and most importantly, it will be assured – if you have the right contact centre compliance and quality tools and technologies to support you.
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