What is CTI?
Computer Telephony Integration, as the name suggests is the process integrating computers and telephone systems. Simple! There are many examples of using this technology, such as:
- Logging, call recording and storing calls for quality assurance and compliance
- Screen popups containing caller information, history and actions
- Call routing based on origin or additional key pad information
- Dial pads embedded into applications
CTI can be used to dramatically improve productivity - including sales, customer service and internal workflow, and reduce ops risk - identifying operational gaps and choke points.
With the implementation of record keeping requirements under MiFID II and other regulations, now is the right time for regulated market participants to be implementing this technology.
How does it work in finance?
Typically, finance industry segments that have a high level of interaction with retail clients have much more CTI embedded in their workflows. Telephone banking is a good example, which may route calls based on key pad inputs or manage call center workflow based on caller information derived from their phone number.
Additionally, many calls are recorded, and consumer facing businesses use CTI to provide data to their call center operators during, or prior to, conversations. Where accounts are retrieved automatically and provided to the operator, this will increase operator efficiency and customer satisfaction, because call duration is reduced by the time taken to manually retrieve records.
In other words, costs down, revenue up and profit up.
However, in capital markets CTI extensions beyond call recording have generally been kept to a minimum.
And for capital markets?
With the backdrop of both increased regulatory scrutiny and the technical convergence of communications, there are scores of opportunities to add value with CTI in the capital markets.
The same objectives should apply - costs down, revenue up and profit up!
Conceivably there has been a reluctance to embrace CTI due to both risk management concerns and perhaps cultural concerns. Anyone involved in capital markets technology would be aware of the potential 'risks' raised whenever any technological change is suggested - perhaps the reason why so much of the technical infrastructure is 20 years out of date.
Not acting on market conduct regulations poses more substantial risk for market participants than not acting. To comply with MiFID II regulations there will be dramatically increased costs - why not use these costs to add productivity and risk reduction tools....
Low hanging fruit
The low hanging fruit is further automation of record keeping.
Already the regulators require call recording, in conjunction with recording and storage of all communications, and they will be at liberty to call on copies of communications data relating to a trade or enquiry whether or not a trade was executed.
Using simple CTI technology, well-designed software platforms can allocate phone calls or intercom to enquiries or transactions in real time and we believe this offers the best value-for-money. This technology can be deployed across all transaction touch-points (front, middle, back-office) at low cost. By choosing technology that doesn't require ripping out existing systems - nothing needs to be rebuilt or thrown away.
Further more, if the solution is cloud based and has a simple API and an intuitive, responsive interface, then it's a no-brainer!
Getting the most from CTI deployment
Getting the most value from deployment will come from using CTI tools to do more than merely hurdle the regulations. Extending the use of both the functionality and the derived data will supercharge the value proposition and add to productivity and reduce ops risk. Let's have a look at this in more detail...
Provide tools to front line people
Ideas to satisfy regulatory requirements are not in short supply. Generally the objective of implementing complex tools such as artificial intelligence and voice recognition is to perform regulatory analysis with no workflow impact on client facing teams. As the front office goes about their business, the computers analyse their actions and words - to ensure market conduct is within guidelines.
Our suggestion is to do the opposite - impact the sales teams by deploying CTI. This will provide these teams with tools to provide better client service levels, increase their own productivity and fulfil market conduct analytics - in real time.
For example, just like your local take-out may know your last order based on your phone number, sales staff who already have customer enquiry details as they call in, can give a surprising uplift in satisfaction. Simple things often mean a lot to clients, particularly when a client's normal contact in your firm is absent.
Provide tools to managers
Matching input to output (effort-to-results) will enable business managers to tune the performance of teams by focusing on clients yielding results and addressing high touch/low yield scenarios. Using team dashboards and productivity markers, sales managers will be able to monitor and respond to what is happening in their environment.
Integrated technology like CTI may not be deployed widely in Capital markets for a range of reasons. However, new market conduct regulations being rolled out globally prove to be a good catalyst for rolling out some smart tools now.
In deploying CTI, we suggest making the technology available to front-line staff for productivity improvements, rather than just to surveillance teams for monitoring. The right tools will do both, and probably at a lower cost.