Who’s technology working for?

By Tim Shand, business development director

Fintech, robo-advisors and a general leaning towards digitisation are natural progressions in a world where even contraception can now officially be done digitally; but when it comes to finances at least, who does it all benefit?

‘It’s not just about digitising money, it’s about monetising data,’ come the cries of the converted, and of course, there is a definite place for automated processes; they’re more cost-effective and, in terms of managing vast swathes of clientele and their information, more efficient as well. In fact, with huge customer bases, automation has to be used to make the economics work. But with the greatest will in the world, it’s not very personal and it doesn’t allow for much individuality. If you don’t fit into a tick box, what does digitisation do for you?

Yes, technology is great when it works, but when it lets you down it leaves you in a real chasm of limited options. On a personal note, days spent trying to sort out a faulty broadband connection highlighted this recently.

The process starts with a phone call, followed by an automated data collection process – in this case phone number, pin code, account number and reason for call. Then there is confirmation that the security tests have been passed. There follows the seemingly obligatory “we are experiencing very heavy demand and you will have to wait in a queue for the next available… your call is very important to us” message.

Eventually an operator is free, and guess what? All the same details are again requested. This becomes very frustrating – especially when you weren’t even aware you had a pin number, the original problem is still not solved and multiple calls have to be made, all going through the same rigmarole.

Sometimes there’s benefits in being specialised and niche. Here at Rivers Leasing we have that luxury, so we can still interact personally with our customers and partners, coming to financial solutions tailored to the individual and, on the rare occasion there is a problem to sort for our customers, we can get straight to it without navigating past automated processes.