Issues

Customer service deserves higher billing even if regulatory change is coming thick and fast

22nd March 2013

This week saw Budget fever as George Osborne tried for the fourth time to perform the impossible trick of battening down the (spending) hatches while simultaneously stimulating the UK economy out of what seems an interminable torpor, amid fears of a looming ‘triple dip’.

Away from high politics (and economics) the FSA revealed that it is pressing ahead with implementation of inflation-adjusted personal pension illustrations through the publication of the PS13/2 http://www.fsa.gov.uk/static/pubs/policy/ps13-02.pdf which will become mandatory from April 2014. This may well become a more significant issue if the BoE cannot keep inflation below 2% as anything over 2% will result in negative real growth at the new low flanking projection rate of 2%...now that would be a miserable sight.

These regulatory developments aside we spent a good deal of time this week looking at the issue of customer service. Nearly all our long-term customers stay loyal because they see us as a vital mainstay of their team. We act as an early warning signal for changes which are spewing out of the regulator or the Government at a sometimes alarming rate.

We help them interpret what these changes mean and often get involved in implementing systems changes well ahead of the pack. By so doing our customers are not only able to differentiate their offerings from competitors but also win accolades for their great customer service. The equation goes something like this: Great industry advice+customer service+great software = Efficient systems+great customer service

It is easy to lose sight of the importance of highly responsive customer service as we try to keep up with this almost constant wave of system changes. As Sharon Mitchell of TPA firm RPMI, eloquently pointed out this week in her article in Pensions World - http://www.pensionsworld.co.uk/pw/article/third-party-admin-going-the-extra-mile-12323721 -the real danger is that we become an industry obsessed with processes rather than delivering solutions which enable us to serve our customers better. We need to deliver lasting outcomes which make a real difference not simply tick regulatory boxes.

I for one am determined that we remain in listening and consulting mode as well as delivering great software that reduces the burden on our clients and allows them to engage more deeply and effectively with their customers - whether they are product providers, intermediaries or policy holders.

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