As the financial services landscape continues to evolve, the FCA Consumer Duty Act is reshaping the way financial institutions approach customer interactions, with particular emphasis upon vulnerable groups. The Act, which places an onus on companies to consistently deliver good outcomes for their clients, has brought about a renewed focus on the quality of conversation within call centres.
With the FCA advising that they “will act swiftly and assertively” against firms who fall short of these new guidelines, institutions should be putting robust measures in place. However, adherence to the Act is not without its challenges: one of the most significant is background noise. This article explores how poor audio quality can hamper compliance and how noise-eliminating software, like IRIS Clarity, will help financial institutions overcome this barrier.
The challenge of background noise
The efficacy of contact centre interactions is largely dependent on communication quality, which, in turn, heavily relies on audio clarity. Unfortunately, background noise in contact centres remains a persistent issue. Research shows that 89% of call centre agents have found background noise to impact the quality of their calls in a post-pandemic world, making it difficult for agents to fully understand and address client concerns, thereby hindering the ability to “deliver good outcomes for clients”, as mandated.
The FCA mandate for speech analytics
The Act has introduced provisions requiring financial institutions to utilise speech analytics as part of their commitment to support vulnerable customers. This technology should play a vital role in monitoring agent interactions, flagging potential areas of concern, and identifying patterns indicative of customer frustration. It should also help to ensure that vulnerable customers receive the support they need and that institutions adhere to the Act's requirements. However, for speech analytics to achieve these benchmarks, the quality of the audio data is paramount, a fact which institutions should not ignore.
By enhancing audio quality, voice isolation software like IRIS Clarity ensures that speech analytics tools have the best possible data to work with, enabling more accurate analysis of historical calls (research has already denoted a significant improvement in speech analytics for businesses who use IRIS). This means that financial institutions can gain a clearer, more comprehensive picture of how their agents interact with customers.
Taking better care of your customers
The importance of good audio quality in customer communication cannot be overstated. The problem of background noise and the negative, stressful effects that this can have upon the brain (known as The Cocktail Party Problem) is stated as the “biggest challenge” by the Centre of Applied Hearing Research). This problem is even more crucial when considering vulnerable customers, as both clear communication and a calm, stress-free environment is essential to understanding and addressing their specific needs.
High quality audio data not only paints a clearer picture of the issues being faced, but allows for more targeted identification of customer pain points, enabling institutions to address issues proactively and take corrective action where necessary. By employing advanced noise-eliminating algorithms, voice isolation removes noise from customer conversations (decreasing noise-related complaints by 98%), ensuring clear, uninterrupted communication. In this way, deploying a tool like IRIS Audio doesn't just provide companies with state of the art sound quality, it provides a powerful tool through which companies can address patterns of complaints and barriers in service.
Staying ahead of the curve
Many financial institutions are already embracing solutions to enhance their compliance with the FCA Consumer Duty Act. By doing so, they are not only improving their customer interactions but also gaining a competitive edge and demonstrating their commitment to delivering good outcomes for their clients.
In today's rapidly evolving financial services landscape, those that fail to adapt risk falling behind. The use of advanced noise-eliminating solutions and speech analytics is becoming the industry standard, and institutions that do not adopt these technologies may find themselves unable to meet the ever-increasing expectations of both their customers and regulatory bodies.
Next steps for financial institutions
The FCA Consumer Duty Act has set a new standard for customer interactions within the financial services sector. However, the persistent problem of background noise presents a significant barrier to compliance.
By eliminating noise from customer conversations, IRIS Clarity facilitates clearer communication and more accurate speech analytics, empowering financial institutions to better adhere to regulations. In a world where customer satisfaction is increasingly tied to the quality of conversation, the need for advanced audio solutions continues to become more urgent. To ensure that your institution is compliant, speak to an expert today.