Special Features

Sustainable and compliant communications in financial services

Lucy Klinkenberg-Matthews | Paragon Customer Communications
|
14th July 2021
Social media phone tech
"In an industry where many customers still desire face to face meetings to discuss important financial matters, technology enables convenient, sustainable and travel-free alternatives, like video chat."

The financial services sector has an important role to play in combating climate change. It can bring about a significant reduction in carbon emissions through reporting and managing its own environmental activity and have widespread influence on sustainability in other sectors through how it allocates capital for climate-related risks.

There is, however, a need to act swiftly. With environmental concerns leading to increased consumer demand for greener products and services and with ever more stringent regulation, the drive to achieve sustainability across all business practices remains high on the agenda for many of the UK’s financial organisations.

Consumers putting sustainability first

In a market where consumers increasingly value customer experience (CX), it is no surprise that they see sustainability as part of the experience package. Research from KMPG shows that 56% of consumers consider companies’ environmental practices when deciding whether to use them. It is not just consumers making these decisions; business customers, suppliers, employees, investors and partners are all seeking sustainable brands.

For financial service companies, regulatory change and the increased public focus on sustainability issues will have a direct influence on all operations, including how communications are sent and marketing activities are undertaken. For regulated reporting, firms will need to provide accurate data to relevant bodies about sustainability progress in their communications and marketing activities, while customers will expect to see more environmentally-friendly communications channels being adopted.

Enabling sustainable change

Technology plays a vital role in driving more sustainable marketing and communications, and in helping financial services firms to better anticipate and manage sustainability regulatory change. The latest customer communications management (CCM) platforms, for example, deliver communications and marketing strategies in more sustainable ways, enabling firms to utilise more carbon-friendly communications channels and monitor and report their environmental impact.

The latest CCM platforms achieve this by establishing a single, centralised, CCM delivery model. This ‘one-platform’ approach provides the delivery infrastructure financial organisations need to support sustainable and frictionless communications across the spectrum of digital and traditional channels. With their ability to facilitate transformation by integrating with the legacy systems that many financial services companies rely on, modern CCM platforms can unify customer data across all touchpoints. Not only does this deliver end-to-end customer journey mapping; it does so in a much greener way when compared to siloed systems.

Journey mapping, of course, opens the door to better customer experience and increased sustainability. Organisations can pinpoint where customers are on their journey and ensure messages are personalised, consistent, relevant and timely, whether they are for marketing or to keep them informed about new regulations and how it affects them.

Important for both CX and the environment, a CCM platform’s ability to deliver omnichannel communications enables firms to send messages via customer’s preferred channels. Aside from improving the experience and increasing the likelihood that messages will be read and acted upon, this can also help drive down carbon emissions.

Having complete visibility of all your communications and activity, whether through digital or traditional channels, can reduce critical communication gaps that not only lead to missed opportunities, but also duplicated communications, and wasted time and resources that produce a larger carbon output.

In large organisations, where operations, marketing and compliance often work in siloed teams with disparate systems, data and objectives, streamlining the design and delivery of marketing, transactional and regulatory communications through innovative print, mail and digital technologies allows enterprises to deliver meaningful communications while minimising their sustainability footprint.

Today, there are many ways technology can be used to drive sustainable communications and CX, including email, text messaging, chatbots, smartphone apps and digital advisors. Indeed, in an industry where many customers still desire face to face meetings to discuss important financial matters, technology enables convenient, sustainable and travel-free alternatives, like video chat.

From a sustainability perspective, intuitive CCMs are intrinsically eco-friendly. The unifying of systems and data, for example, makes communications far more energy-efficient than relying on a combination of siloed systems for communications.

Of vital importance to financial services is the ability of the latest CCM platforms to measure their communications’ carbon emissions. Organisations that effectively analyse the sustainability impacts of their communications and who choose supply partners with shared visions and the capacity to support and help deliver their sustainability goals are well placed to benefit.

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