Faced with increasingly demanding regulatory requirements and inspections, regulated institutions are required to apply the appropriate KYC (“Know Your Customer”) procedures, the risk of incurring considerable penalties that would tarnish their reputation. How can you make sure you are compliant whilst also staying on top of costs, quality and processing times?

For Guillaume Bru, the Projects & Delivery Director at Webhelp KYC Services, it is important to define your strategy from the start and keep on adapting it. While some activities require human intervention, others need to be digitised and automated in order improve performance.

What kind of strategy should you consider adopting when digitising your KYC processes in order to refocus human resources on higher value-added activities? Guillaume Bru gives us 4 expert tips.

1- Digitise the customer journey

In addition to the benefits associated with brand image, providing a clear, ergonomic web interface for customers to give them the information and supporting documents they need boasts many advantages. These include optimising both the compliance rate and the user experience: automatic checks can be carried out as soon as a document is uploaded, which means the customer can upload another one immediately if any non-compliance is identified (out of scope, illegible, incomplete, inconsistent etc.). As a result, the customer will not need to be reminded to come back and start the process again.

In addition to this, it saves time for users, as they no longer have to submit hard copy versions of their supporting documents in person or by post, as these documents have already been digitised and sorted by type. What’s more, an advanced version of the customer journey can provide the opportunity to share personal data reliably, directly from official data sources (banks, service providers, energy suppliers etc.).

However, it is worth noting that it is also a good idea to continue to offer non-digital options. As a matter of fact, between 10 and 20% of customers prefer using physical channels (such as mail by post) – even though some of these end up adopting the digital process after some help from an expert advisor.

2 – Automated file analysis

Automating checks (to make sure a file is complete, the documents are genuine, the file is acceptable, the information and supporting documents are consistent) will boost productivity and reduce human error as well as the risk that the customer’s file will not be compliant, for example:

• An artificial intelligence brick will help identify fake documents
• An automatic document recognition (ADR) module will identify and accept, or reject, a driver’s licence as proof of identity, depending on the pre-defined acceptance rule
• An automatic document reader (ADR) module can be used to extract first and last names from documents proving identity and residence, and to compare them with each other.

Of course, technology has its limits and, in many cases, manual processing by KYC analysts remains essential in order to repeat or confirm automatic processing. A badly placed reflection on a copy of an identity document could cause the machine to reject the document, whereas the human eye would be able to confirm its conformity.

3 – Choose automated notifications

An initial contact and reminder plan that has been coordinated in advance not only saves a considerable amount of time, but also optimises the compliance and transformation rate. For example, if a file is not compliant, automatic notifications will be sent to the customer in a way that is appropriate to their situation. To do this, consider identifying the preferred contact channels in advance according to the type of customer (email, text message, written letter, message in the customer’s account etc.) as well as how long to wait before getting in touch again.

However, some more delicate situations require human intervention in order to support the customer. For example, a detailed telephone conversation will help resolve all sorts of different situations in which the customer is struggling to provide the required elements. At the end of the call, the advisor will also be able to send an automatically generated email with one click of a button, containing the list of missing elements and what the customer needs to do to update the file.

4 – Manage and coordinate with the help of a technological platform

Managing KYC throughout the lifecycle of a customer case can be a complicated process. Therefore, automatically coordinating actions throughout the contact, problem-solving and periodic updating processes (collection, notifications, processing, reminders, validation, archiving, etc.) is the best option. Using a technological platform that is suited to KYC activities will thus make it possible to model, roll out, manage and optimise processes (workflow, compliance, events and actions). This will also ensure traceability for the actions that have been completed, as well as the automatic production and sharing of key management indicators.

Here again, the added value of a human being comes into play when analysing and exploiting key indicators in order to improve the performance of the KYC process, both in terms of operational efficiency and quality (average processing time, collection and compliance rate according to the type of file etc.). It is thanks to this analysis that you will be able to put adequate action plans in place, once you have identified the potential obstacles and how to remove any barriers.

In conclusion, while the use of digitised and automated processes is strongly recommended if you want to improve performance and control costs, human intervention remains essential. It is also important to note that KYC operations, which are often perceived as restrictive, are in fact an opportunity to get to know customers better and to increase their level of satisfaction by offering them the best possible user experience. Therefore, providing a digitised, streamlined and secure process can only improve the customer journey.
It is precisely this combination of technology and human beings for high-value tasks that guarantees the success of KYC processes.

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