The last five years have seen huge changes in the way financial services businesses are supervised and regulated. A new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), a new European Commission and a long procession of other reforms have brought new ways of working to the industry.
Adapting has meant embracing some big challenges but we’ve also sought to encourage the Government to preserve the elements of the regulatory environment that have allowed the City of London to flourish as, arguably, the financial services capital of the world.
Despite so much change and extra scrutiny, the big constant that remains of central importance is how we look after our customers. All customers matter, not just the financially aware but those vulnerable people who need extra care at all stages of their financial lives.
At Zurich, we’ve put in place real measures to improve the way we deal with our customers. From the ‘soft skills’ training given to our staff so they can understand and recognise the needs of vulnerable customers, through to how we design and deliver our marketing and advertising. And we’ve worked with the Alzheimers Society, for example, to produce a practical, step-by-step Lasting Powers of Attorney guide.
Our customer services teams also receive Zurich Tone of Voice training. This provides employees with the skills to identify when a customer is vulnerable, for example if they’re confused or suffering from memory loss. This enables staff to tailor the way they deal with the customer to improve their experience with Zurich without increasing the risk of fraud.
Even so, it’s not just about visible, surface changes; it’s also about achieving a deep-rooted cultural change too. Zurich is very aware that every one of our customers, indeed every one of us, could be termed ‘vulnerable’ at some times in our lives.
That’s why we continue to work hard with all levels of our organisation to improve awareness, understanding and thinking to make sure we treat every customer, and employee for that matter, as an individual and with the respect and good service they deserve. More formally, this attitude is championed by Zurich’s Vulnerable Customer Management group, established in 2010 which has the full support of the senior leadership team.
It’s important that businesses, especially those in financial services, don’t just rely on an outdated one-size–fits-all, top-down approach on this. Nor is it just about responding to regulatory requirements. We’ve made a fundamental cultural shift that’s a central part of our commitment to corporate and social responsibility. And, what’s more, it makes good business sense!
Gary Shaughnessy, CEO, Zurich UK