An FS Business Essential
Sounds odd? It shouldn’t be. Dictionary definition of “love” in business and work means making decisions and conducting oneself in a way that cares for people and the world we live in.
Let’s face it, brand reputation can make or break a business during a crisis. Flashback to 2008/2009. According to a recent McKinsey article “The last time there was a global crisis, the financial services industry was widely perceived to be a big part of the problem. This time around, the financial services sector is central to the solution.”
This crisis has accelerated customer and public expectations for all businesses to behave more responsibly and sensitively, by demonstrating real care and integrity for their customers and employees. The financial services sector is no exception.
Serving customer communities and needs – putting customer’s best interests at heart
Across the banking and payments industry, supporting customers has come in the way of easing the burden of financial stress through offering payment holidays on mortgages, credit cards, and loans. After the initial government launch of the CBIL scheme, an additional initiative has materialised – bounce back loans via accredited lenders to get much needed additional support to SME businesses.
Across the insurance sector, a large number of insurance companies have been working to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis by supporting their employees and distribution partners, donating money to global relief efforts, and easing the financial burden on their customers. Many health insurers reacted super quick to cover the cost of coronavirus testing with no-out of pocket costs.
New initiatives have been launched, such as reduced-price usage-based car insurance to NHS staff and other key workers. With significantly fewer drives on the roads, one major insurance provider has launched a stay at home refund to all of their customers.
New Products and Service Offerings - Innovation Across The Market
True innovation around social good imperatives have launched during the crisis across incumbent, challenger, and fintech businesses. Several banks have launched a second “spare” debit card to help those self- isolating, linked to their account to someone they trust who can spend on their behalf. Another UK bank has launched a free cash delivery services to customers who need access to cash whilst isolating at home.
FinTech’s have had the opportunity to showcase their innovation, developing new offerings, and making certain platforms more accessible to help both businesses and individuals cope with the pandemic. With ever-increasing pressure on lenders to speed up decision making on loans to keep business afloat, the UK business loan marketplace has adopted open bank technology to help lenders cut down on loan resolution times.
COVID19 – A Call for Digital Transformation to Rapidly Advance
In response to the spike in customer queries and worries about their financial situation, many businesses have used websites and social media as main channels to provide guidance, advice and reassurance to their customers.
The current pandemic has forced customers who have resisted online banking to download digital banking apps, and swop cash for debit cards and other forms of contactless payments. Many digital and contactless payment providers have seen an actual growth in demand during this period, whilst overall consumer spend is down, people still need to buy essential goods and services.
In response to customer demands/challenges, the spotlight on digital innovation is exemplified across the health care insurance sector. Literally overnight, just about everyone now knows what virtual health is. Whether that is a GP in your pocket or access to other health care professionals – this crisis has stimulated the demand for these services. Growing concerns around mental and physical wellbeing have seen a rise in new digital applications and online tools.
Talking to leaders across the market, it is beyond doubt that digital acceleration will be crucial for developing agile ways of working with new operating models built around the customer experience, increasing adoption of data analytics and AI, supported by the right processes and governance. The pace of digital adoption will now play out across the entire sector; and perhaps arguably insurance remains the most untapped opportunity for disruption?
There will be many challenges ahead, but there is a tremendous opportunity for accelerating innovation as the industry navigates ways to play a vital role to act and provide relief for those who need it most. Moving forward, the industry has huge scope to be a sustaining force for the future of the economy and society. “ Love” after all IS good for business.