Dave Beach spoke to Joanne Smith, CEO of Recordsure, and Annamaria Jatta, Strategy and Innovation Leader at RBS, about how NatWest is piloting Recordsure’s AI technology in their telephony channels with GDPR and customer trust in mind. NatWest began successfully trialling the Recordsure compliance tool in June 2017 to improve and monitor the quality of information and advice provided during regulated customer conversations.
What is the Recordsure product and how does it use AI?
Joanne Smith (Recordsure): We are developing the most advanced conversational analytics platform in the world that efficiently converts inert audio records into valuable intelligent insight. Essentially, Recordsure unlocks powerful insights from customer conversations, helping firms mitigate risk, reduce compliance costs and improve the customer experience.
How do we do that? We use an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system to understand human conversation, resulting in automatic detection of trends, patterns and anomalies. However, it is the distinctive combination of state-of-the-art AI with deep learning and machine learning, alongside our expertise in language and financial services, that make us a unique solution that cannot be replicated. This type of technology is a game changer for the financial services industry and other sectors where conversations contain valuable data.
What type of partnership is this?
Recordsure: We’re a separate legal entity to NatWest so our relationship is a partnership. We’re also in partnership with various other financial institutions to develop the Recordsure solution, particularly within compliance. However, the product is not exclusively beneficial for financial institutions - it can be used within any other industry that makes use of audio and transcriptions.
Was there a lightbulb moment when you looked to converge Advanced Analytics and audio recording?
Recordsure: I have worked within financial services regulation for over thirty years and my other company, a compliance consultancy, had been doing quite a bit around the remediation space for interest swaps, pension mis-selling, mortgage mis-selling etc. From this experience, we discovered that the main problem for mis-selling was not so much the conduct of the advisers but more that there is not an adequate record of what was said during the sale to prove anything. Often, manual written records are inaccurate, amnesia kicks in and people forget what they’ve been told. There are no obvious signs that mis-selling challenges are going away, so we believe if you record customer interactions you will have an authentic record of those conversations to prove mis-selling has or has not occurred, giving you better control as a result.
Recordsure cuts out a lot of the heavy lifting by enrolling artificial intelligence. When we launched in 2013 we were very much first to market using AI for compliance and we often found ourselves educating others. At that time, there was reluctance for early adoption but we’re now gaining significant traction in the financial services market, particularly with the big players. This is, in part, due to the rise in RegTech which has come about because enterprises are being forced to reduce costs whilst also improving customer experience. Recordsure answers both these needs.
Where and how is Recordsure used by NatWest?
Annamaria Jatta (NatWest): We’re piloting Recordsure across NatWest but particularly in personal, business banking, for mortgage advice and particularly when we do financial health checks. We have various scripted questions we ask to determine the needs of individual customers. By recording this it gives a nice breakdown and, for mortgages in particular, we have this ability to review conversations and pin point where it went wrong. With this system in place banks would never have been in the mess that we were with PPI.
We’ve run two large pilots for a year but we are now looking to scale this technology into other parts of the business. The primary purpose of Recordsure is for compliance but it also really helps us understand how we interact and can improve the customer experience.
How does this work with GDPR?
Recordsure: Seamlessly. If the customer provides consent, they can have their own record of conversations in the customer portal; there’s total transparency.
NatWest: By our own admission, banks were not seen as trustworthy institutions after 2008 - for all the right reasons - and since then, NatWest has gone on a major transformational journey. We really have to address not only the compliance side of auditing mis-sellings but the human side of customers. We’re trying to do this by understanding the emotional side a little bit better and provide a better service.
By using Recordsure’s AI to record conversations, we can literally show regulators that we are compliant whilst, at the same time, we make the process more transparent and trustworthy for customers - we have a 95% acceptance rate of those consenting for phone recordings.
With Open Banking that’s all the more important with challenger banks giving us healthy competition to improve the standard of our services. But we really have to be able to backup that standard and it circles back to the idea of trust.
If there’s a complaint, we can address and pinpoint what went wrong with the records we collected. One of the by-products has also been making our advisors more aware of the communication process and this goes beyond optimising the conversation with customers; it’s a good way for professional self-review and sets a precedent that cuts time and effort in training.
What is the future of Recordsure’s technology?
Recordsure: It was designed for a global rollout. We launched in the UK first but some of our customers are actually global banks, so we’ll head to Australia, Asia PAC and the Americas in the next 12-18 months. We’ve built the solution to be robust and scalable to match the demand that banks’ will put our technology through.
I can’t disclose specifics in the roadmap, but this global expansion as we roll out with new financial services’ customers is certainly an exciting prospect for 2018 and beyond.
*This interview was recorded in Recordsure’s offices and transcribed using their technology.