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Hints & tips for moving to remote advice

We must consider the risks as well as the benefit of choice remote advice brings to customers and our industry.

By Barbara Emmett, Head of Lifetime Mortgage Operations & Controls

As remote advice grows in popularity, there is now more of a need than ever to apply extra vigilance to the advice process and customer journey.

Customer journey

Remote advice might be a little different to what customers would expect or are used to, so positioning this at the outset will be helpful e.g. the process for receiving advice, applying/signing applications, valuations, independent legal advice and how family members will be engaged if the customer chooses for them to be.

GDPR

If you usually work from a controlled office environment and are now working at home, it’s worth a self-reminder of the need to ensure General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. Data registers should be kept up to date, with complete clarity on what is stored, where it is stored, who has access to it and who controls it. Find out more about GDPR compliance here.

Customer ID

You may need to find different ways of identifying your customers; you might consider methods such as recognised apps that provide confirmation of ID and permit this to be shared with all parties in the process, or, video calls supported by receiving original/certified documents.

Customer protection

In addition to falling victim to scams, customers may also be at higher risk of being coerced where there is less, or no face to face interaction combined with potentially additional financial strain. Asking more probing questions and having deeper discussions can tease out indicators of risk e.g.:

  • is the customers’ language consistent with someone of that age group?
  • are they being inconsistent or vague with their personal details?
  • are they unsure of plans for the funds or unable to coherently explain their plans?
  • is there frustration with probing questions?
  • does one party appear dis-engaged, allowing the other to take the lead or, is a third party controlling the conversation?

Extra vigilance is vital to support you and your customers. 

Delivering advice

Enhancing your process to ensure that, where advice is carried out over the telephone, both parties have received and understood the advice you’ve given e.g. both parties are on the call together, or separately, with deeper discussion around their plans and regular engagement and confirmation of understanding from both individuals.

Vulnerability

Where advice is delivered solely by telephone and, particularly where all aspects of the process are non-face to face, customer vulnerabilities may not be identified easily e.g. customers being coerced or acting under duress or, vulnerabilities linked to health including mental capacity. Deeper conversations and the strengthening of controls will help to identify these issues to protect your customers.

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