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Better communication makes you more efficient

In the world of finance, clear and frequent communication is key to success.

Making the effort to improve communications is sometimes seen as the opposite of making things more efficient and saving money. But it’s not a zero sum game.

That’s because communication is how consumers experience products and platforms, as well as being part of providers’ regulatory duty. As a result, it’s possible to improve communication to lead to better outcomes for both consumers and businesses while keeping operations efficient.

I had a brilliant chat with a whole host of experts, facilitated by the team at Beyond Encryption, the secure digital comms people. You can watch that conversation and read more about the different takes on this same challenge from the rest of the panel.

Investing in great communication is worth it if it benefits your consumers

When financial institutions communicate clearly and often, customers win. Clear messages help customers understand their options, leading to better financial decisions and fewer calls, emails and complaints which your people have to respond to. Plus, happy customers are more likely to stick around, boosting loyalty and trust.

A lot of it starts with knowing why you’re communicating in the first place. There is some value in generic communication where you want to build familiarity and trust. But most research will tell you consumers only want to hear relevant information that’s all about them. McKinsey has produced some great content about the value of personalisation.

Better communication can also make you more efficient

There are many ways that improving communication can go hand in hand with operational efficiency. These will vary for different organisations, but here are a few of the biggest opportunities we’re seeing in the market at the moment:

1. Send less stuff

So often our tendency is to add something when there’s a new challenge or opportunity. Compounded over years of new products and new technology, for many organisations this has led to vast amounts of communication going out to consumers every year. Auditing everything you send to your end users will often reveal duplication, or just redundant communication which goes out annually ‘because we’ve always sent that in October’. Simply mapping what you’re sending will often reveal some quick wins to strip back activity without compromising (in fact, sometimes improving!) user experience.

2. Always start with insight

Having stripped out redundant communications from your plan, there will still be times when mass communication activities aren’t getting enough value. We know people want to hear about something when it’s relevant to them. This means communication sent en masse is already wrong for a proportion of the people receiving it. However, if you start from a place of insight, so you’re confident everything you send is for a purpose and has the best chance of achieving what you want it to, you’ll be able to send more targeted communication. And targeted, personalised comms can reduce the total volume you send, as well as making every piece you do send far more likely to move the dial.

 3. Be omni-channel, not multi-channel

When digital communication first appeared, it happened alongside the existing letters and phone calls. It was additive, so was an investment on top of the existing work. You could have multiple channels to talk to your users, but those channels aren’t properly linked. To be truly omni-channel, there needs to be one dialogue with each consumer. And wherever they pick up that conversation, whether over email, on the phone or by post, it’s seamless. This reduces duplication for you, and frustration for your users.

4. Embrace AI and automation

There are huge cost savings to be made by automating processes and harnessing AI to continually improve them as we go. Some of these tools will be how you can do the 3 things above. You’ll be able to process huge amounts of data to see where you can cut unnecessary repetition. You’ll be able to link your data so you can automate personalised communications. You’ll be able to join your channels together so you’re always on the same page with your customer. AI now is the worst it’s ever going to be, so the sky’s the limit for future capability!