Remote working in financial services: what trends are we seeing?

We share some of the key findings we have learned from advisers setting up conversation recording and assurance measures from their homes
Keeping assurance in remote working-01

Many advisers and call centre teams have had to move operations from the office to the home. With so many ways to speak with clients and customers remotely, firms have been swift to adapt and stay connected despite the disruption.

In regulated sectors like financial services, staying connected with clients is just the start though. Firms should really be recording all conversations for compliance purposes and risk management as a bare minimum, although best practice is to go further than this and harness recordings as a springboard to improve customer care, customer insights and customer outcomes.

As a provider of both recording software and advanced AI analytics tools that break down conversation data at scale, we have been on the frontline to support banks as they have made the transition to remote working. Here are some of the insights we have gathered from this unique vantage point:

  1. Reactions have been overwhelmingly positive

With face-to-face meetings taken out of the equation, teams have had to adapt swiftly. While there will always be a place for meeting clients in the flesh, speaking remotely also has its perks. Less time is spent travelling for instance which frees up more time that can be spent with customers. This has been essential in recent times as the number of enquiries has gone up across the board, so the increase in adviser capacity has been highly valuable.

Another benefit to telephony and video calls has been less friction towards conversation recording. We have found that when positioned correctly by the adviser, virtually every customer will request conversations to be recorded in face-to-face meetings. However, there is still an explanation needed, and it might seem like a novelty to some customers.

On the other hand, there is now an expectation that calls will be recorded. It wasn’t really a barrier before, but when communications are either online or by phone, recording the meeting has even less friction. This just makes keeping a full record of all dialogue that little bit easier.

  1. Are people politer over the phone?

When you speak to someone face-to-face, body language has a role to play in the rhythm of the conversation. This isn’t the case in telephony, where you can’t see the person you are speaking to.

What does this change look like?

Almost counter-intuitively, we are finding that people are generally politer on the phone. You are more inclined to interrupt someone when they are in front of you when you are taking cues from things like hand gestures. By phone though, we are getting fewer instances of people talking over one another: people say their piece and then wait for the response much more often.

Interesting as this is from a psychological point of view, it also has an impact on transcription accuracy and analytical insights. The more people talk over one another, the more analytics and transcription tools have to work to make sense of the words that are being used. Recordsure was always designed to deal with the challenges of face-to-face meetings, but conversations where there are clear gaps between speakers make it easier to get reliable transcripts and analytical insights.

  1. The importance of culture

Another change we have seen is that initially, advisers seemed a little less relaxed on phone calls while working remotely. This is obviously a) a generalisation and b) subjective to some extent.

Our hypothesis is that this can be explained by the move to a new environment, which can always be unnerving. Indeed, we have seen this trend reduce over time, but it is important to note that many teams will benefit from the atmosphere in the office and having managers on hand to support them. Take away that familiar support network and a little unease is understandable.

Working remotely, it is more important than ever to keep a positive culture. Regular team meets and contact time with managers will help maintain this. Our Capture tool was instrumental pre-lockdown in bringing advisers and supervisors closer by freeing up more time for supervisors to spend supporting their teams. It also enables them to review meetings without needing to sit in the same room, where their very presence would alter the rhythm of the conversation. This is now proving more valuable than ever for managers as it is allowing them to offer that added level of support and bolster team culture even while operating remotely.

  1. Covid-19 has changed the language we speak

The success of any analytics or transcription tool is dependent on the ability to understand specialist terminology, which is why it is so important to find providers who are experts in the given field. A good example we often give is the word “ISA”, which will typically be misunderstood by general transcription platforms as the word “ice”.

Our knowledge model is trained on over six years of data from real-life financial services conversations, which is what enables us to provide such reliable results in this sector. What has been interesting of late though is the number of new words we have had to train our AI engines to understand.

Terms like “furlough”, “lockdown” and “self-isolating” were rarely used before Covid-19, but now are commonplace in financial services conversations. As these sorts of words are now coming up all the time, analytical tools have had to adapt expand their vocabularies. In short, Coronavirus has changed the language in the financial services industry, adding multiple new terms, and the sector needs to keep up.

Recordsure’s Capture solution records conversations across face-to-face, video and telephony. It then transcribes these audio files and stores them securely with metadata automatically added to make navigating the information quick and easy. This is helping firms maintain the highest possible levels of assurance, even amongst the disruption caused by remote working, and is helping managers keep a finger on the pulse across their team to offer maximum support.

Interested in learning more or seeing Capture in action? Talk to us on info@recordsure.com or +44(0)20 3772 7272

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