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Automation on the Frontline of Customer Complaints in the Financial Services Industry

Automation on the Frontline of Customer Complaints in the Financial Services Industry

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Automation on the Frontline of Customer Complaints in the Financial Services Industry

Dec 1, 2022

Jack Jones

Blog Post

  • Aptean’s Jack Jones looks at how automation can be the key to delivering better customer journeys
Workers using desktop computers

We’re all working hard to improve customer experience (CX) and smoother, more efficient customer journeys are the order of the day, particularly when it comes to complaints. But, with more regulatory pressure than ever before, a general uplift in complaint numbers and the increasingly complex nature of complaints, these seamless customer complaint journeys are proving more difficult to achieve.

For many organisations, the key to unlocking these better customer journeys is proving to be technology. In particular, an increase in automation is helping to free-up staff from time-consuming, often error-prone, admin tasks, leaving them more time to focus on more value-add activities. Gone are the days when increased automation was seen as a replacement for people, rather, it’s now a valuable, complementary resource supporting the skills and expertise of complaint teams to deliver vital improvements to the customer journey.

So, what does this automation on the frontline of customer complaints look like in practice? In short, it’s having the right functionality in place to make sense of unstructured information, automating tasks where possible and using data to inform decision-making, resulting in faster and more effective decisions and improved customer outcomes. As well, organisations who are embracing automation across the end-to-end complaint journey are seeing tangible, quantifiable benefits. One financial services business that’s been driving automation at the front line has seen a 25% reduction in average handling times and a 74% reduction in errors, not to mention a significant decrease in the number of complaints resulting in redress and compensation. And, that’s before we even take into account valuable CX enhancements and improvements to the overall customer journey.

Smart Suggestions

The right technology can enable intelligent routing or distribution of cases, saving time right from the start of a complaint journey. All throughout the complaint process, smart suggestions and intelligent workflows can help to speed up the complaint handling procedure. For example, smart suggestion functionality can help guide complaint handlers as to the optimum next steps to take in a complaint journey. By using a number of search parameters, complaint handlers can rely on the right technology to make sense of often massive amounts of data and provide useful information about similar cases, as well as highlighting the options available to help progress the complaint efficiently and effectively.

This functionality can also come in useful when trying to remove the triage complaint stage, for example. Smart suggestions can highlight where similar types of cases are ultimately resolved, so by which part of the complaints team, enabling the complaint in question to bypass the triage stage and go straight to the team that will be handling the complaint.

Consistency of redress is another area where smart suggestions can help too. By looking into what levels of redress other customers with similar complaints were awarded, complaint handlers can ensure more consistency of redress, using proactive smart suggestions to help guide their decisions, often faster too.

Model Cases

When it comes to rapidly implementing and instilling best practice, the ability to make sense of unstructured information proves vital here, too. Functionality which enables complaint handlers to search for model complaints that are similar to the complaint they’re dealing with is extremely useful. By configuring search parameters such as "complaint type" and "product type", it’s possible to deliver a list of model complaints to compare and contrast with their current open complaint.

This access to model cases can help to guide the complaint handler to the next course of action, perhaps reaffirming their initial thoughts or maybe even causing them to pause to reconsider the next best steps to take. Ultimately, it can help to shorten the complaint journey considerably, preventing any unnecessary steps or unwarranted escalations.

Automated Correspondence

The application of automated correspondence across all different channels can make a huge difference to CX and customer outcomes too. Done well, automated correspondence reduces the need for proofreading, paper handling, document loading, storage, distribution, postage and shipping, and reduces the risks associated with human error. But, to be truly efficient, automated correspondence processes need to be able to conform to existing workflows, integrating with what’s already there instead of adding another level of complexity. Intuitive complaint management systems can help, with drop-down menus suggesting next courses of action or specifying what data is needed in the correct format, to ensure consistency and accuracy of any automated correspondence via a whole host of different channels.

Vulnerability Detection

Automation has a role to play in compliance too, particularly when it comes to ensuring the fair treatment of vulnerable customers. Smart suggestions, model cases and intelligent workflows can signpost to complaint handlers the best courses of action for vulnerable complainants. Perhaps more importantly, the right technology can help to identify vulnerability early on in the journey, something that’s not always easy to do, even with the best training in the world. Making use of vulnerability detection functionality can complement existing skills and training, ensuring vulnerable customers are treated appropriately and fairly from the start.

Instant Access to Information

While not strictly speaking automation, instant access to a single source of customer information does automate the time-consuming process of either piecing together customer data from different systems or, worse still, having to ask already disgruntled customers to repeat information they’ve already provided. Improving access to customer information for frontline employees is a must if quality outcomes are to be achieved. And, the fact that 63% of front-line complaint handlers said they don’t always have access to the information needed to resolve a complaint shows this is a real issue. In light of this, it’s not hard to see why more organisations are turning to dedicated complaint management solutions for help.

In essence, what automation does is free-up experienced and skilled complaint handlers to focus on the more valuable tasks. This might be having more capacity to investigate complaints, more opportunities to provide regular updates to customers or simply the luxury of time to nurture meaningful relationships with customers. This all contributes to boosting overall CX, helping to deliver better outcomes and, ultimately, increase customer loyalty.

While automation was perhaps seen as a replacement for people in the past, this is no longer the case. With the right level of automation in place, organisations can enhance their existing offering, bolstering skills and training with the right technology to support considerable improvements to CX and complaint handling—underpinning better customer outcomes every time.

For more information on how Aptean Respond can help you to unlock the value of your complaints data, get in touch today.

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