By Richard Stevenson, CEO, Red Box
The world of work has changed at pace, beyond anything that could’ve been imagined before Covid-19 hit. For employers managing staff in the financial services (FS) sector, adapting to a hybrid or entirely remote model of working has been essential. Although there are many different post pandemic approaches being announced, from remaining completely remote, to hybrid, to a complete return to the office, the situation has brought both challenges and opportunities with regards to managing staff and customer interactions, particularly when it comes to ensuring a business remains compliant.
Financial regulations differ across the globe – from Dodd Frank in the US to MiFIDII in the UK. The global financial authorities that introduced these regulations often get requests to roll back their provisions or provide some ‘flexibility’ in certain conditions. Some of these are successful and others are not. In October the FCA warned banks that they must provide the same standard of surveillance of staff working remotely as they would in an office. Initially, they had provided some leniency early on in the pandemic but FS firms are now expected to have updated policies, training and rigour to ensure that personal devices and networks are able to record interactions and not compromise customer data, internal data or processes. Recording these interactions with remote workers is more important than ever to monitor conduct risk, compliance and fraud prevention, particularly as 57% of UK IT decision-makers believe that remote workers will expose their organisation to the risk of a data breach.
As the working environment of team members is no longer in the control of the employer, a whole new level of rigour is needed to ensure employees are representing their employers in the ‘right’ way. Access to secure and trusted technology that delivers, regardless of where an employee is based, is crucial.
FS firms must recognise the incentives to undertake a digital transformation beyond fear of non-compliance. New disruptors, neobanks, and the massive increase in financial technology firms across both the US and UK have all meant that firms must adapt rapidly to stay ahead, not just of the competition, but of the curve. More than two-thirds (67%) of financial services workers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform many FS practices, and 58% say that FS firms which embrace AI are a more attractive place to work. Despite this, FS firms have been slow to adopt AI across most business functions.
This is unusual, given the FS industry has traditionally led the charge with regards to technological know-how. Increasing legislation and demands for compliance have driven a necessity to be as tech-savvy as possible, yet nearly half (47%) of the financial firms we surveyed cite that they are currently unprepared for future legislation, despite having a host of technological tools to help them.
Using voice data that’s being captured for compliance is one way to ensure they are prepared for legislative change because voice is such a rich data set, holding much more value than any other means of communication. It conveys context, sentiment, intent, emotion and actions, providing real intelligence and driving valuable business outcomes that can be beneficial in understanding and benefiting customers – one of the key drivers of legislative change.
FS organisations are beginning to understand the value that voice analysis can bring. Specifically, how the benefits provided by increased customer insight can lead to outcomes such as better customer retention – an essential component following the financial crash of a decade ago and an increasingly competitive and regulated marketplace. In fact, there are many benefits and measurable outcomes to be gained from using voice data to leverage AI and analytics tools. When teamed with other data sources captured from the multiple communication channels customers now use to engage with brands, as well as operational data, these tools can deliver hugely valuable insights to truly understand the Voice of the Customer (VoC) and drive business and process improvements to enhance customer experience (CX). Firms must also consider employee experience (EX) and look to answer some specific questions: Are we improving processes? Are there restrictions? How can we support the agent’s delivery to the customer?
Firms are collecting more data than ever before. Providing access to that data, and using automated processes to derive value from data sets, is the key to delivering large-scale, long term benefits and improvements to the business. While there is no shortage of effective AI and analytics tools on the market, finance sector IT buyers are met with two key challenges. Firstly, there are issues surrounding the quality of the voice data that fuels the AI and analytics tools they’re looking to implement. Secondly, IT buyers are sometimes unable to access and aggregate data from all areas of the business with many locked in to point solutions that adopt a monolithic approach, not allowing for flexibility when it comes to picking and choosing the right AI and analytics solutions for their respective needs. Suppliers with an open API philosophy integrate seamlessly into automatic speech recognition (ASR) and AI vendors to support the readiness and analysis of this data.
There is no doubt of the ever-increasing role that AI will play in driving valuable business outcomes. More uses for AI than ever before and the benefits of adopting a future-facing AI strategy are extremely appealing to organisations looking to outperform competitors through digital transformation. For FS firms looking beyond simply complying with legislative requirements, voice data has the potential to be truly transformative for a business. How these firms choose to exploit it will be the difference between success and failure.