User Vision: Your Partner for Delivering Outstanding FCA Consumer Duty Customer Outcomes

14 June 2024 - Chris Rourke

Woman holding credit card and iPad for online banking

As the 31st July 2024 deadline for implementing the FCA's Consumer Duty looms, financial services firms are under pressure to transform their operations and ensure they consistently deliver good outcomes for retail customers. This is a paradigm shift in regulatory expectations, and one that demands a customer-centric approach to all aspects of a financial firm's business - from product design and pricing to customer communications and support.

At User Vision, we understand the importance of meeting this challenge and the benefits that it delivers to both the customer and the financial service provider. Indeed, for over 24 years, we've been at the forefront of user experience and accessibility in financial services, helping firms fully understand and meet the diverse needs of their customers, including vulnerable groups.

Our unique combination of industry expertise and user-centric research and service design positions us as the ideal partner to guide you through this critical transition.

Putting Customers at the Heart of Everything

The Consumer Duty's core principle is simple: act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers. On the surface this sounds simple, but achieving this in practice requires a fundamental shift in mindset and operations. It's no longer enough to simply comply with rules; firms must proactively identify and address potential sources of harm, ensure their products and services offer fair value, and provide clear, accessible information to empower customers in their decision-making.

Making good financial decisions is vital to financial well-being and trust, but too often consumers are not given the information they need to make good decisions... [Consumer Duty] will drive a change in culture at firms. We expect firms to step up and put consumers at the heart of what they do, and we’ll be holding senior managers accountable if they do not.
Sheldon Mills - FCA Executive Director

At User Vision, we've been advocating and implementing this customer-centric approach for decades. Our services, from user research and service design to experience evaluation and training, are rooted in a deep understanding of user needs, behaviours, and mitigating identified pain points. We don't just pay lip service to the concept of "good customer outcomes" - we live and breathe it every day.

Below we outline the four flagship outcomes of the Consumer Duty and some of the ways that User Vision can work with you to achieve these.

Outcome 1. Product and Services

The firm’s products and services should be fit for purpose. The terms match the target consumer needs and products and services work as expected.

We help you design and improve all of your financial products and services so that they meet the needs of all of your customers.

Outcome 2. Price and Value

Products and services should be sold at a price that reflects their value. There should be no excessively high fees.

The goal is to ensure the price a customer pays for a product or service is reasonable compared to the overall benefits the customer will experience. We capture this perceived and comparative value impression through many of our services including Competitor Analysis and benchmarking, and Ethnography research including full purchase path research.

3. Consumer Understanding

Consumers are equipped to make good decisions. Information is made available at the right time and is understandable.

We help you accurately understand and define your various customer segments and personas so that you provide the right information for every customer segment when they need it.

4. Consumer Support

Customer service should be responsive and helpful. It should be as easy to complain about or switch and cancel products or services as it was to buy them.

We gather insights from your customers to ensure they can access and use all communication channels to receive the right support, including for changing product or moving provider.

Across all of these outcomes the FCA has highlighted that they should be achieved for a wide arrange of customers, including vulnerable customers. A vulnerable customer is someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm - particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care. All customers are at risk of becoming vulnerable, but this is greater for certain characteristics such as poor health, cognitive impairment, low resilience to cope with financial or emotional shocks and poor literacy or numeracy skills.

The audience of vulnerable customers extends beyond customers with disabilities. Through our experience delivering research and design projects for numerous financial and government organisations, User Vision can help financial services firms understand and design positive experiences for vulnerable customers.

An End-to-End Solution for Sustainable Compliance

Achieving sustainable compliance with the Consumer Duty requires a comprehensive, end-to-end approach. That's why User Vision offers a full suite of services to support firms throughout their implementation journey.

Our process is based on delivering Human-Centred Support to ensure Consumer Duty Outcomes are successfully achieved:

Image showing the stages in User Vision's Human-Centred Support for Consumer Duty process which are detailed in full in the content below

Targeted Recruitment

Find research subjects that truly represent your customer base

Understanding your customers requires speaking to people who accurately reflect your target audience.

With 24 years of experience in the financial services industry, we excel at identifying and recruiting highly-specific participants for in-depth user research studies.

Discovery Research

Uncover real customer needs and expectations

Effectively shaping your products around customer needs requires understanding their unique situations, needs and challenges - especially for vulnerable customers.

Our multidisciplinary team leverages a diverse toolkit of research methods to surface valuable insights into your customers' expectations, allowing you to tailor products and services to their requirements.

Product Validation

Rigorously and continuously test customer touchpoints

Ensuring your services work for your customers requires that you evaluate how your customers experience them.

Our consultants undertake moderated test sessions where customers interact with your touchpoints while our experts analyse usability, identify friction points, and pinpoint areas for optimisation.

Accessibility Assurance

Inclusive design serving the widest possible audience

Reaching the widest possible audience requires that your products can be equally accessed regardless of different physical or cognitive abilities.

Our accessibility team conducts comprehensive audits to validate compliance with industry standards and inclusive design principles, enabling your products and services to be leveraged equitably by your entire customer base.

Strategic Change

Embed human-centred continuous improvement

Setting a higher standard of care for customers requires putting them at the centre of your organisational culture.

We work with firms to help them embed human-centred thinking into their organisation, orientating strategy, teams and processes around continuous customer experience improvement.

User Vision - Trusted Partner for meeting your Consumer Duty goals

At User Vision, we are proud of our track record of delivering accessible, inclusive experiences that empower customers to achieve their financial goals. Our commitment to fair treatment and supporting vulnerable customers is woven into the fabric of our organisation, making us uniquely qualified to help firms navigate the complexities of the Consumer Duty.

As the implementation deadline approaches, financial service firms need a partner they can trust – one with the expertise, user-centric approach, and unwavering dedication to delivering good customer outcomes. User Vision is that partner, and we're ready to embark on this transformative journey with you.

Where to start?

A great place is for User Vision to conduct a customer-centred evaluation of your customer journeys and services, from proposition to product application, online servicing and contact-centre support. This will provide you with independent expert evaluations to know where you stand and the most important areas to target in the future. This will inform and motivate your team and strengthen your conversations with the FCA.

Contact us and we can discuss how User Vision can work with you to achieve a future where fair treatment, accessibility, and customer-centricity are not just regulatory obligations, but core values that drive your success.

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