So far, so good, but projects generally take a period to execute because there is an important layer of governance required to ensure that all aspects of delivery, usability and compliance have been considered. As an example, many financial services firms have successfully navigated PCI/DSS requirements, or indeed data security more broadly, with pause and resume call recording, clean desk (mobile free) policies and other mitigating controls. In the rush to home working, how do these businesses ensure that staff members aren’t photographing sensitive personal data on their screen or compiling their own library of debit/credit card details for future use?
In some limited cases, I’m sure that productivity has increased, though overall, working from home involves a whole host of other distractions, exacerbated when you layer on the potential need to become engrossed in home-schooling or assisting other house members. This translates into reduced service capacity. Combine this dynamic with a similarly pre-occupied, potentially vulnerable consumer trying to manage their financial affairs around payment holidays, likely outside of normal operating hours and you have a perfect opportunity for service and brand disappointment at the very least and at the other extreme, unwelcome customer detriment.
Those businesses that had progressed a digital first strategy, where most of their end-customer servicing functions have been devolved to the customer for them to manage at their convenience, very literally 24 X 7, are already positioned to deal with the influx of the more complex enquiries relating to vulnerability and financial hardship. Technology is not always a panacea for situations such as these, though it is undoubtedly a valuable tool to triage and enable the business to focus on the key issues.
It’s a regrettable inevitability that claims management businesses will be seeking to identify and exploit situations where consumers may not have been treated as well as perhaps they could have been in the crisis and, if history is anything to go by, may well point the finger indiscriminately at a broad range of lenders. Devolving service options through self-service allows lenders to better demonstrate a consistent process throughout the journey. Naturally, no matter how sophisticated the algorithm, it can’t deal with all eventualities and so the handoff to an experienced operator is essential.
So, will the take-up of digital channels stick with consumers? I think so. We’ve all witnessed a number of switches to digital journeys in our personal lives, whether it’s been home shopping or click and collect for food, increased adoption of home conference calling through one of the many services, or children learning though virtual classrooms. The key is to ensure that that infrastructure and policies matches the shop window and the on-line journey is as competent as the contact centre one.