I recently read a published report describing how the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate Digital Financial Services; significantly, the report highlighted the need for Financial Services companies to have a “Remote First” mind-set.

This is unsurprising when we look over the past number of weeks and consider the way consumers have rapidly adapted to interact and do more and more business online, using in some cases new channels such as  Zoom, Amazon, Deliveroo etc.

This paradigm shift is likely to create a significant opportunity for Financial Services companies by breaking down past reluctance and use better ways of engaging.

It’s  easy to  foresee Wealth Management companies deploying online video meetings for statutory annual reviews; Insurance companies discussing a Claim remotely without having to visit, and IFA’s discussing different options and completing the on-boarding remotely, in a highly secure and trusted environment.

However, despite this “surge to Digital”, several processes still require documentary evidence to be submitted, as a key part of an end to end transaction.

Recently I amended my pension contributions and had to print out an email attachment to complete, sign, and return the document by post! – a long-way short of “Digital Utopia”.

We also see that the cost of getting the wrong document sent electronically, or by post, can have a significant impact.  One Bank highlighted that 40% of all in-bound documents that were needed to support a mortgage application process, were WRONG!

This included the wrong document type, out of date documents, and/or poor quality of the photocopy.

An insurer stated that just to send out an email to ask for the correct document to be resubmitted was costing them £25.00 – the cost of getting it wrong soon mounts up.

However some companies have already implemented a “Remote First – Remote Validate” way of working.  This is based upon an understanding that most consumers simply DO NOT have access to a printer or document scanner at home.

Fortunately, the vast majority of consumers today have access to Smartphones that are equipped with sophisticated image capture technology capable of matching the quality of most scanners, as well as providing web browser capabilities.

Using Sefas’s Platform solution, an electronic document can be uploaded and validated in near real-time. If the document requires a signature this again can be applied using Platform using a OTP (one time passcode).

By adopting a transparent and automated process, you will in effect be driving an enhanced customer experience, delivering customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Karen Peters, Head of Financial Services Business Development, Sefas UK