Are your customers getting the message?

Since becoming regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), I know that you’ve heard a lot about the importance of communicating with your customers in a manner which is clear, fair and not misleading.   Understandably, as this is a fairly broad brief, the FCA also issued some more structured guidance on communications in section 3.3 of the CONC handbook.  I’m sure you’re all very familiar with CONC in its entirety by now, but the highlights include ensuring that it is clear by whom the communication is issued, that the language used is plain and easy to understand, that the risks and penalties are clearly expressed and that availability of the product or service needs to be stated explicitly. 

However, just as you’ve begun to get your head around what to say and, perhaps more importantly, what not to say in communications to customers and prospective customers, another factor is also beginning to attract attention; the method by which you communicate.  Echo Managed Services recently surveyed 1500 consumers to see which type of communication was most likely to see them respond; one in four answered that they would be most likely to engage with electronic communications.  The same survey revealed that a third of respondents would prefer communication by letter, whilst 40% selected telephone as their method of choice.   Experian carried out a survey on a similar area at the end of last year and found that a third of its respondents preferred electronic means of communication, whilst they were keen to stress that traditional paper based methods still had their place.

So, what does it all mean?  Well, in my opinion, nothing more earth-shattering than the fact that different people like to be communicated with in different ways! In addition, it depends upon the reason for the communication; a text or email including, a relevant link, is likely to work better if you require an immediate response, whilst a high quality direct mail piece might be a winner for attracting new customers.  Although the surveys I’ve mentioned are merely testing the tastes of the market at the moment, I’d suggest that using it as a starting point for reviewing your own communication methods might be a good idea; for business development and process improvement reasons, if not regulatory at this point.   These surveys identify the ways in which to best engage with your customers; why would you not want to try and pinpoint the most successful range of methods for working with your client-bank? 

Fortunately, working with an organisation like The SimplyBiz Group means that our specialist team will keep you  up-to-date with what you need to do,  the practicalities of how to approach it and the regularity with which it needs to happen, so that you don’t have to do it all yourself.  .  If you want help with not only marketing and business development but also adapting to FCA regulation and keeping compliant on an ongoing basis, please get in touch with us on 01484 443424.


Sam Cameron-Carruthers

Head of Marketing

Consumer Credit Centre

SimplyBiz Group