Nail compliance while keeping customers on the line

How to balance anti-money-laundering management with the pressure to meet 'know your customer' requirements.

Read time 4min 20sec
Nick Truran.
Nick Truran.

Two worlds currently collide within corporate IT: anti-money-laundering management and the pressure to meet the imperative 'know your customer'.

The two linked together sound like a contradiction in terms. And to be fair, if my experience with banks and financial services companies is anything to go by, they generally are worlds apart.

Current call centre technology takes the customer through seemingly endless prompts to get to an operator; then the client still has to face the often-onerous proof of identity formalities. Meeting these requirements is at odds with a customer-centric service and often results in frustration.

Don't get me wrong, fraud and identity theft are real issues and need addressing. But how do we get the information we need from customers in order to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations, and still provide a value-added customer-centric service?

Firstly, we need to understand why we have customers at all and then how we can deliver our products and services to them. No amount of marketing or brand loyalty can cover over the frustration gap between what you say you are and what you actually deliver.

I believe there are three steps to delivering value to the customer using the same technology, while meeting regulatory requirements at the same time. These are: leadership, intention and strategy.

Step one: Leadership

Leaders need to impart a clear understanding to their people of 'why do we do what we do?', 'why do our customers want to buy from us?', and 'why wouldn't they want to buy from us?'

This is the essence of Simon Sinek's 'Golden Circle' model. Sinek, an American business strategist, uses the model to explain how legendary leaders like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr and the Wright brothers were able to inspire, rather than manipulate, in order to motivate people.

Strategy is not only an aspirational and potentially unattainable goal, but equally about the steps required to realise it.

The Golden Circle principles are grounded in the tenets of human decision-making and synchronous to the way our brains process and accept ideas. Use this model regularly to communicate the customer-centric ethos so employees get to understand, live and breathe it.

They then start to think like their leaders, work with purpose and become advocates for the organisation.

Step two: Intent

David Marquet, a former commander in the US Navy, sums up this process, which is to embed the capacity for greatness in the organisation's people and practices, and then decouple it from the leader's personality. People then take ownership and control of what happens in the business and customer service. The two pillars that enable this are competence and clarity. Psychological transfer of ownership means no instructions are given, but rather intent is expressed.

According to Marquet, in an intent-based environment it is possible for:

* People to feel valued and proud of being part of something bigger than themselves.
* People to know the organisation's goals and thoughtfully contribute toward their accomplishment.
* People to feel inspired. By pushing decision-making and authority down the organisation, people rise to the occasion and take responsibility, even during times of change.
* The organisation's success to be shared by all members and not just the "leaders".
* Leadership to be at all levels of the organisation.

Step three. Strategy

This is crucial and often misunderstood. Strategy is not only an aspirational and potentially unattainable goal, but equally about the steps required to realise it.

We can compare the journey to a game of snooker. World-class snooker champions such as Ronnie O'Sullivan don't wipe out their competition without having a strategy for playing the next shot. Talent alone does not define their success.

Leaders need to be continually looking out for that next "shot" in their product and service delivery that will enable the long-term strategy of the business and its competitive-edge.

Different outcomes

If our bank or financial services institution was to apply these principles to customer service, using the same call centre technology, the outcome would be very different.

Firstly, the initial prompt in a call would be to establish whether the customer is an existing or new one; the second prompt would be to establish the customer's name and the service required. Once this information is received and the call is routed to the required department or business unit, the customer could be welcomed by name, and only then his or her identity verified by relevant security questions. The result is a totally different customer experience.

What's more, you've still implemented 'know your customer' and anti-money laundering requirements, but managed not to tick-off the customer at the same time.

Small shifts, same technology, big wins.

Nick Truran

Founder and CEO, AgileIT.

Nick Truran is founder and CEO of AgileIT, a strategic IT transformation consultancy created to provide clients with a relevant, agile and senior approach to the management of IT services. A personable, analytical and cost-conscious senior-level executive with extensive experience in technology leadership, Truran is passionate about assisting corporate clients in optimising their existing assets while preparing them to embrace the advantages that new technologies have to offer.

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