Without Further Guidance, Odigo Executive Sees FCA Consumer Duty as a Tick Box Exercise

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published final guidance on the new Consumer Duty initiative last year. Firms are expected to implement the requirements by the end of this month.

Consumer Duty sets a “standard of care” for financial services firms in retail markets aiming to protect customers better.

A statement by the FCA from last month explains:

“The Duty is a significant shift in our expectations, and we’ve been pleased to see many firms working hard to meet these new, higher standards. Our recent firm survey found that the majority of firms in the sectors covered believe they are on course to fully implement the Duty on time. However some have more to do to meet the deadline.”

CI has received a comment from Odigo, a Contact Centre as a Service provider that has criticized the new Consumer Duty requirements. Melissa Cowdry, Director of Field Marketing at Odigo, is of the opinion that more guidance is needed on the rules.

“While the FCA’s Consumer Duty shows a clear goal to prioritise and improve good customer service, more guidance is needed to avoid it turning into a tick-box exercise.  A lack of clarity is leaving many financial services firms and businesses which sell financial products questioning how the Duty will work in practice. What constitutes as a good or bad outcome? Say Joe Blogs is in a car crash and the insurance firm decides to repair, not write-off the car. Joe could complain the outcome isn’t the one they wanted – does this fall under the category of a ‘bad outcome’? “

Cowdry believes that the FCA narrative “misses the point.”

“‘Good outcomes’ in this context is a focus on delivering a good customer service journey; from shorter wait times to ensuring customers get the answers they need in the best format for them. Delivering this relies on customer service agents having the tools to improve first-call resolution and contextual routing. With only a few weeks left until the deadline, firms currently in the process of implementing the necessary changes will need guidance on how to not just stay compliant but ultimately deliver a higher-quality customer experience.”

The FCA provides a Consumer Duty page containing resources to help firms understand our expectations. The FCA states that a recent firm survey indicated that 96% of respondents who had used the Consumer Duty publications said they found them helpful.

The FCA added that once the Duty is in force they will “prioritise the most serious breaches and act swiftly and assertively where we find evidence of harm or risk of harm to consumers.”

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