Most regulation focuses on the customers and regulations across markets are converging

As regulators focus on the customer it means different market regulations are becoming largely similar. It is creating a uniform set of standards – let’s look at how:

  1. The GDPR requires every data holding business to use data responsibly, putting the control of its use in the hands of the customer and prompting, in some cases, a significant shift in how data is used, stored and managed.
  2. The FCA has published a proposal on how employee performance is managed, this will likely change how products and services are sold – meaning changes are also likely specifically around commissions and bonuses.
  3. The Competitions and Markets Authority has launched Open Banking which encourages new entrants into the Banking and Financial Services markets, as well as more transparency on products and services including the value of them to the customer. We will see comparison sites become much more used in these markets. In addition, the GDPR enables sharing of an individual’s transactional current account data, to better understand the customer’s financial behaviours. For example, to assess their ability to repay, or afford the credit. Energy providers have recently been asked to start to share energy consumption in a similar initiative.
  4. Ofwat expects water companies to outline in their business reviews how bad debt will be managed. We also see the FCA continue to tighten controls around collections activities and processes across all markets.
  5. In the Life and Pensions markets the Regulator has focused on reuniting customers with unclaimed funds, through the thematic review into the fair treatment of longstanding customers. Today, we see Ofgem calling upon Energy Suppliers to reunite customers with closed account funds, between 2020-2025.

When you look at each of these regulations you can start to see similarities.

In addition to these revisions, and newly launched regulations, we already see Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) and Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), across all markets – offering similar standards for each sector. Every one of these thematic reviews or legalisation is calling for one common thing, doing the best thing for the customer each time. Helping to better protect, and better serve them.

To do this, you must first know who they are, what they want or need and what is best suited to them. To know this, you must know where they are. Whether you are recovering funds, or reuniting funds.

Know where your customers are – always

Every year, millions of people move house, change their telephone numbers and relocate to other parts of the country. Understandably, at the time, informing their provider may not always be their top priority and many forget. If a customer’s contact details change, you may no longer be able to reach them, either by letter or by phone. With the lines of communication cut, it’s can be hard to reunite customers with their assets, arrange collection of arrears, or to provide the on-going advice and support that they may need.

Businesses need to reconnect with ‘lost’ customers as quickly as possible. What’s more, you must be certain that you’re dealing with the right customer to help you to work towards ensuring that all your communications are effective, appropriate and compliant.

The good news is that tracing is getting much smarter. By cross-referencing a range of customer and organisational data, it is now possible to establish new addresses and phone numbers for your customers, with a much higher degree of accuracy than was previously possible.

So, this year why not balance the books. Reduce debt, and reduce the funds you are holding that you need to give back?

We believe regulation can be a force for good. Our research, commissioned through Forrester has highlighted how many businesses prioritise their efforts in compliance, but also how they are pushing to invest in new initiatives that far surpass these guidelines. When you look at a high level you can see that what’s needed is a basic roadmap:

  1. A single customer view. This way you can know who you are dealing with, everything about them and treat them fairly as you are better informed and consistent. {We can help}
  2. Good data quality. By maintaining a good data quality foundation, you can continue to build on the foundations and excel in your communications through a good quality base layer. {We can help}
  3. A better knowledge. By better understanding your data, for example using advanced analytics, you can have more meaningful conversations with your customers and bring this value exchange to life through knowing much more about them, their wants and needs. {We can help}
  4. A modern architecture. While many struggle with the move from legacy systems to modern designed technology, adding segments into your customer management software can help you to automate your decision making. In addition, it can better connect on and offline channels – fast. {We can help}
  5. Customer first. By putting the customer first you can start to redesign your future. What this looks like is varied and will likely mean you need to make changes across all your processes. In today’s highly competitive marketplace customer first means many things – but above all it means delivering value. You need to understand what this value exchange is for you, and your customers. {We can help}