The FCA’s Consumer Duty explained – the clock is ticking

17th November 2022

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Consumer Duty is constructed with the Consumer in mind, but it won’t just lead to improved customer outcomes and meeting the needs of the customer. It will promote competition and growth based on high standards, and data will play an important role in how your company understands your consumers on an individual and group level.

Data at an enterprise level is vast, and with structured data accounting for just 20% of all generated information, your organisation could be missing several key data points when trying to monitor the Consumer Duty. The FCA though, has been helpful in its guidance and recommend that five key data points should be used to monitor the Products & Services Outcome in particular, they are:

  1. Sales information and information on business persistency
  2. Customer feedback
  3. Complaints received about the product or service, and the results of root-cause analysis of those complaints
  4. Analysis of whether the product or service functions as expected at outset, including whether customers use product or service features as expected
  5. Where appropriate, consumer research, such as focus groups or new testing

The above five points are provided as means to start analysis and monitoring for Consumer Duty outcomes. But how can these areas be mined to produce insightful reporting, and drive positive change for the consumer and your organisation?

Utilising structured data

Structured data is easily accessible, accurate, and relevant information about your customer. It can be a quick and powerful way to build a basic frame of understanding about customers individually or in groups, but lacks the full context and story. Though the sources of structured data vary for each organisation it will follow the same standardised format; accessible within a database, has a complete definition, and is easily analysed. Points 1,3,4, & 5 are likely to provide structured information.

Organisations can lean on structured data to provide information about what products and services your customers own, but it will lack the context to provide meaning on the needs and outcomes for the consumer.

Exploring unstructured data

Unstructured data offers the key to fully understanding your customer. It can provide a wealth of insight on their needs and behaviours which help to build a more complete story of your consumers.

Unstructured data, in relation to Consumer Duty, can predominantly be found within the “Customer Feedback” data monitoring area and can be split into five main areas of data collection:

  1. Voice interactions
  2. Text interactions
  3. Social media posts
  4. Online product and brand reviews
  5. Free form customer surveys

Every phone call, webchat, email, social media post, and product review contains a vast amount of information on the customer’s wants, needs, satisfaction and general sentiment.

Previously, these unstructured data points have been hard to manage and decipher, however in recent years there have been technological advancements that mean each area can be mined en-masse and at speed. This will provide your organisation with integral data that can help support you to understanding how your product and service can better meet the needs of your customers.

Taking action

Gathering the data, be it structured or unstructured is just one part of completing the Consumer Duty monitoring puzzle.

The best way to not get lost is to ensure your organisation has a clear data strategy in place. One which considers everything from how your data are governed all the way through to how you’ll distribute it and importantly how it can be used to inform Consumer Duty. Users of the data would be able to utilise self-serve reporting tools to pull and analyse the data.

Ensuring you have a robust data governance policy in place is essential with cyber-attacks on the increase. This leads into the requirement for a dedicated team or function within the business that would own the data. This team would be responsible for maintaining and creating workstreams that can address concerns or areas of improvement that are gleaned from the analysis of both structured and unstructured data.

The follow-up and implementation of actions based off the insight is an important cog in the machine of improving your organisation’s products and services. However, actions can only be successful if they are informed by accurate and complete data. By utilising both structured and unstructured data your organisation can build a full picture of the consumer, their needs and behaviours and therefore monitor your processes accurately against Consumer Duty and enhance your customer outcomes.

If your business could benefit from guidance, our consultants are on hand to support your team with their Consumer Duty implementation plan. Enquire here!

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