In this Month’s Sound Off: Dr. Robin Kiera, founder, thought leader and influencer at
Robin shares his views on the role of technology in a rapidly developing industry.

Finos: Name the biggest challenge that comes to mind that the trust services/financial services industry has recently faced and how did they overcome it?

Robin: Insurance and financial companies belong to the most disrespected and mistrusted institutions. Mainly because in the past decades we have tried to sell our products to customers – even if they did not want or need the product. In the era of companies that are able to establish themselves as trusted partner (like Amazon, Apple etc.) this affects the bottom line.

Finos: How do you see the impact of RegTech on the trust sector/financial services industry?

Robin: I don’t see a large impact yet , but there are a lot of tasks and processes that could be done by robots or AI and replace – in a lot of cases unreliable humans. Maybe this could be an approach to communicate the change positively: We replace humans with robots that will give you the best advice and best claims process (not the advice or claims process that’s in the best of the interest of the bank/insurer)

Finos: As for the trust sector, in an industry where trust is key, and personal service is the name of the game, how can a trust company grow and keep the personal touch in service delivery (i.e. not lose the client’s trust).

Robin: At the beginning of Amazon, it was said that nobody would like to order a book online, because you miss the personal touch. Also Blockbuster did not buy Netflix because a study showed that customers wanted the personal touch of the video shop. I strongly believe that the demand for personal touch will fade away, as it has done in other industries too.

To gain trust in the digital era, you need to improve your customer facing processes and corporate culture. You need to deliver outstanding service and win the hearts and minds of your customers. You do this with a huge amount of transparency and sharing your story via attention hacking.

Finos: What advice would you have for the next generation of financial services companies considering the shift in mindset regarding corporate social responsibility?

Robin: Corporate Social Responsibility is important to a certain customer segment – but not for all. Only because media is full of a certain loud segment, this does not mean that the mainstream society agrees. As political elections have shown around the world, it may even be that large parts of society do not agree with the public debate, which is in a lot of cases driven by a minority. So I believe one should be careful to use CSR as main and only corporate pillar. On the other hand one should not ignore it and become vulnerable.

Finos: If you would start a new trust firm/financial services firm from scratch today, what are the top three things you would focus on to differentiate yourself from the competition?

1. Don’t rip off the customer – do not pay sales commission. Use motivation systems that are based on the action of an employee, like calls made and meetings conducted, instead of products sold. Do not demand that an employee should sell X amount of product Y. Create team goals.

2. Don’t rip off your employees – Substantially align the interest of a sales person (“how much money do you want to make?”) with the company and show how this person can achieve his or her goals with the company. If you claim that a steep career is possible at your company or a certain amount in salary possible, you need to have people there that have achieved this lately.

3. Over deliver – under promise. Deliver to your customers excellent digital and non-digital products and services. Use tailor made sophisticated modern communication to become part of their daily lives as a trusted party and win their hearts minds and home screens.

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