Compliance and Customer Experience: How to Get the Balance Right

There is a belief that balancing compliance and customer experience is a task involving conflicting pressures that will mean an organisation will have to compromise on either one or the other.

That the compliance measures required within complex customer journeys will negatively impact the customer experience, or that best-in-class customer experiences are impossible to create with the regulatory information that often has to be gathered.

But this doesn’t need to be the case, here are four ways in which you can balance compliance and customer experience to create a customer journey that doesn’t compromise on either.

Across industries, organisations are feeling the burden of the expanding scope of compliance.

Evolving from a series of rule-based regulations, to a much broader landscape that now incorporates data protection and operational and customer experience risk, the new regulatory environment poses a series of new challenges.

Remaining ahead of the constant change has become a necessity with regulators like Ofcom, Ofgem and the FCA taking a proactive stance in protecting consumer interests, issuing fines on the occasions in which organisations have fallen short of the standards required.

For many, finding a way to meet both these internal and external demands, while simultaneously delivering the seamless streamlined journeys customers expect, can create conflicting pressures. In the ‘age of the customer’, where experience matters more than ever, customers are accustomed to instant gratification and are unforgiving of fractured compliance processes that are based upon what works for the organisation rather than their needs or which significant action is required on the customer’s part.

With limited other grounds for differentiation against competitors, nurturing customer relationships has become increasingly valuable for many organisations. But if approached in the right way and with the right tools, organisations can incorporate compliance without hindering a customer’s experience.

Disruption and the Value of Consumer Trust

Established brands have enjoyed a lengthy period of dominance across industries, but the tide is now turning, with consumers increasingly showing a willingness to shift away towards smaller challenger service providers.

As enterprises battle to maintain market share, familiarity and trust in brand will remain the key currency that established brands can leverage to attract and retain customers.

Whether it is personally or professionally, trust is an essential component to relationships across all walks of life. Although it might be thought of as a vague qualitative measure, difficult to gauge and therefore difficult to manage, it has a substantial impact on business outcomes.

The problem is that for many customers, in the years since the financial crash, trust in big brands has generally been in decline. Customers have become increasingly sceptical of traditional offerings, with high profile fines imposed for mis-selling of products, inaccurate billing and poor handling of complaints tarnishing reputations. For smaller organisations, this has created an opportunity to sway minds and promise customers that it is they who truly have their best interests at heart.

4 Ways to Deliver Both Compliance and Customer Experience

Too often, organisations approach compliance and building trust from different viewpoints. They are viewed as distinct challenges with distinct purposes.

Often falling under the domain of the legal department, ensuring compliance is something organisations must do. Whether it is internally or externally, it is there to mitigate risk and it can be a stumbling block to streamlined CX.

Building trust, on the other hand, is something that is seen to have value in terms of customer experience. It could fall under the responsibility of marketing, heads of line or innovation professionals, and encompasses a range of different variables, for example offering competitive products, transparency or impartial advice.

This siloed approach means delivering compliance can often be in conflict with streamlining journeys. But CX and compliance need not be mutually exclusive. Compliance can complement the process of building trust and, delivered in the right way, can enhance the customer experience.

1. Deliver transparency about products, fees and services

One study found that 86% of respondents viewed transparency as more important than ever before. The problem is that many brands are falling short, with only 32% of global consumers trusting that their main financial services provider is providing full transparency on fees and charges for example.

Organisations must take care to ensure sales and marketing processes do not interfere with delivering transparency, as a failure to do so can leave customers feeling that short-term profits are prioritised over their needs. Instead, organisations must be proactive in communicating with customers, anticipating questions as opposed to waiting for customers to ask or even complain.

In the post financial crisis world, the overarching objective for regulators has been to ensure markets are robust, efficient and fair. Not only are organisations required by regulation to be transparent about product features and fees, but ultimately there are gains to be made as there is a strong correlation between customer trust in transparency and their likelihood to recommend a provider to others, be retained as a customer and purchase more products or services.

2. Provide high quality, unbiased advice

Being able to deliver unbiased, impartial advice is key to encouraging your customers to trust you. In turn, customers are more likely to continue using your services – 95% of customers believe that if they trust a company, they are more likely to remain loyal. Organisations must do a better job of explaining both products and business practices, such as business ethics and governance, which typically play a heavy role in influencing consumers’ perceptions.

There are tools organisations can use to better enable front line staff to give the optimum advice to customers quicker. Dynamic workflows and conditional questioning, for example, means that the early information a customer supplies you with adjusts how much information you are required to collect throughout the journey while remaining compliant, reducing time to service. By collecting customer information in this way, it is also possible to automate product or service recommendations based on the customers’ needs and circumstances.

3. Eliminate Silos

Transformation is a team sport. If the responsibility for your journeys lies across disparate teams, who are unaccustomed to working together, then the customer experience will inevitably feel fractured.

The starting point for closing the gap between streamlined journeys and compliance is to bring different functions together to establish shared objectives.

By leveraging this 360-degree view of how journeys are functioning, you can begin to understand what each jurisdiction is looking to achieve and ensure the means through which it is delivered is not to the detriment of other goals. This will create a shared responsibility for the entire journey across teams and, in addition to ensuring compliance are able to meet their demands, will ensure the customer experience does not suffer.

4. Streamline operations

Part of the reason delivering compliance can be such an obstacle to customer-centric experiences is that the infrastructure supporting it needs improvement.

In telephony, for example, agents might be required to read out lengthy unengaging compliance scripts or send out documents in the post, which customers may be required to sign and return. In this way, although organisations may be delivering compliance, they are creating breaks which either frustrate customers or make them drop out of the transaction all together.

Regardless of which channel a customer chooses to interact with you through, there should not be a significant difference in the customer experience. Customers do not see channels in the same way as organisations and expect to be able to switch as and when they like. Today, the importance of working dynamically and in real time is magnified by the fact that any single customer can come to you through multiple different channels. Organisations should therefore seek to centralise customer data and eliminate duplicative data entry.

A central and up-to-date data source can not only help organisations meet regulations (such as Know Your Customer and Customer Due Diligence) more efficiently, but it is also imperative for creating seamless customer journeys that customers can trust. Integration between core systems and channels will allow both agents and customers to access all account information in one location. This can lead to efficiency gains, quicker approval processes, an enhanced ability to flag risks and increased personalisation to meet customer needs.

How RegTech Can Help Organisations Deliver

Regulation has not been left behind in the age of digital transformation. FinTech technology is now being married with regulation to address challenges and ease the burden of compliance.

Increased focus on RegTech has also, in part, been driven by the need to find agile solutions that enable organisations to meet the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape. But using technology alone to meet compliance is not enough. It’s imperative that any new initiative has an agile base that can not only scale but can also be implemented rapidly and easily extended.

Where organisations once looked to build their own in-house solutions, today third-party vendors are often able to provide more effective and cost-efficient solutions. Solutions should be chosen based on their ability to prevent risk, while managing compliance requirements with a full audit capacity. With many RegTech solutions also having a customer experience focus, organisations can ensure compliance is integrated into the journey not only as a requirement, but to the benefit of customer experience.

In Conclusion

In the ‘age of the customer’, where experience is paramount, businesses must enhance journeys and leverage trust in their brand to stem the increasing threat posed by challenger organisations. With customers unforgiving of fractured compliance processes, brands must act now to integrate compliance, not solely because of regulation, but also to improve journeys.

With the evolution of RegTech solutions, the historical dichotomy between compliance and customer experience no longer need exist. Although the expanding scope of compliance may be a burden to organisations, it also represents an opportunity to reformulate journeys for the benefit of both business and experience.

This blog post was taken from the eBook – The Ultimate Guide to CX Management in 2020, to download your copy – click here.

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