The Financial Ombudsman sees complaints rise because of Covid-19

From: RegTech Analyst

The Financial Ombudsman has received over 3,500 complaints related to Covid-19 so far this year.

Of those, 23% had todo with travel insurance, 20% with business protection insurance, 9% with credit cards, 7% with current accounts, 6% with commercial accounts and the remaning 35% fell in the other category.

“Many people have found themselves in unexpected financial difficulty as a direct result of Covid-19. Others have found that Covid-19 has made things that were already difficult much worse,” said the Financial Ombudsman.

While the regulator recognised that the Financial Conduct Authority had put measures in place to offer people temporary relief on payment products such as paying overdrafts, the Financial Ombudsman said more people have had financial difficulties because of the pandemic.

“[Some] said they could no longer afford their monthly payments for insurance policies,” the regulator said. “We also received complaints from consumers telling us they had been declined a payment deferral arrangement, or that there were problems setting this up with their bank or lender.”

Some experts believe that the figures should act as a reminder that businesses need to use technology to ensure their services are up to snuff.

“[As] banks continue to shrink their branch networks and phone calls remain the popular choice of communication for customers, banks are given a golden opportunity to understand their customers and their concerns better,” said Tom Rimmer, Senior Executive at Speechmatics, the speech recognition software provider. “Voice data, when processed with the right technology, offers financial institutions a host of insights and improves that all important “Customer Journey”.

“In order to adequately access data from phone calls banks need to invest in voice technology, meaning they need to prioritise their digital strategies to help service the high volume of demand. Especially as for many businesses the ability to conduct post-call analysis is extremely valuable.

“This also means having RegTech solutions integrated into the customer journey to ensure any issues that arise during calls are flagged up straight away. This gives agents the ability to better steer the conversation and effectively resolve any conflicts.

“We could potentially expect a similar fallout as a result of the pandemic to that of the PPI scandal if banks don’t address this increased call volume effectively. Especially as PPI remains the most complained about product according to the Financial Ombudsman Service, with 15,842 new complaints for the quarter.

“As a lesson going forward, banks need to execute preventative measures rather than reactive strategies to ensure both customer experience, risk management and brand damage is not compromised. Ultimately, using automated speech recognition technology enables banks to have the visibility they need for the high volume of interactions.”

Copyright © 2020 FinTech Global

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