Yabber Global

£30M fine is a wakeup call for contact centres

Delegates at conferences and seminars around the globe will have heard us ‘banging on’ about the importance of independent oversight of customer interactions.  The way customer service agents deal with calls is now a clear regulatory focus.  Regulators in specific sectors including financial services, utilities, telco, retail and travel expect better customer outcomes and more consumer-focused interactions.  That regulatory position has just been highlighted as a result of the £30M fine handed down to the insurer Standard Life Assurance Limited (SLAL) by the UK regulator The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Compliance departments often tell us they don’t have the budget or resources to do the job properly.  That resource debate has now been blown out of the water as the cost of non-compliance appears to be put at £30M (£44M had it not been for a 30% ‘discount’) and c£25M redress to around 15,000 customers.  These costs related to ‘non-advised’ sales – historically considered as lower regulatory risk.  There is now no doubt that finance and compliance departments must make resources available to ensure that customer interactions are focused and compliant – frankly shareholders will demand it.

Although the Final notice gives firms significant guidance (see Final notice), the issue is summarised by making sure that explanations to customers include:-

  • the availability of alternate products/pricing in the general marketplace
  • the need to point out that lifestyle factors can affect the product offering
  • the need to provide clear, fair and not misleading information

The FCA stated “SLAL used high level call guidelines which gave call handlers significant discretion about how they communicated with customers.  This meant that the firm failed to provide some customers with appropriate information about enhanced annuities, including the option to shop around for a better deal.”

It also “failed to put in place robust systems and controls to mitigate the risks created by high level call guidelines and large bonuses.  It failed to adequately monitor calls between call handlers and customers and provide sufficient management information to enable senior management to identify failings in relation to the quality and volume of call monitoring”.

Yabber enables firms to monitor 100% of their interactions with customers.  Our platform delivers improved compliance, identification of key risks, re-design of processes and measurement of staff capabilities.  Monitoring 100% of all calls frees up compliance departments time to focus on ‘red calls’ and ‘root cause analysis’ driving continuous improvement.

To request a demo of the system or to find out how we can help improve your own contact centre results, please give us a call.