Customer vulnerability & agent wellbeing


Ian Taylor, Avoira’s Head of CX, explains how a groundbreaking, AI-powered speech analytics solution is helping financial services firms better identify and support vulnerable customers – and satisfy regulatory demands. 

In its 2020-21 Business Plan, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) placed as a key priority the protection of vulnerable consumers by the firms it regulates. 

The regulator has since put more meat on the bones.  Practical guidance has been issued to highlight the actions regulated firms must take to understand vulnerable customers’ needs and treat them fairly. 

The FCA’s motivation is totally understandable. It wants vulnerable customers to secure outcomes at least as good as those enjoyed by other customers. It also wants to ensure that the actions taken by regulated firms don’t exacerbate vulnerability. 


The increasing weight of FCA regulation is the number one issue for BIBA members

Steve White, CEO, British Insurance Brokers Association.

These are undeniably laudable aims but a necessary by-product is an increased regulatory burden upon the insurance, investment and finance firms which fall under the FCA’s auspices. 

It adds to a growing mountain of process auditing and box ticking which firms must undertake. It’s a hot topic. Steve White, CEO of the British Insurance Brokers Association has reported that “the increasing weight of FCA regulation is the number one issue for BIBA members.” 

So, how can regulated businesses do the right thing by their customers and meet FCA requirements – without drowning in process and paperwork?  

Let me tell you. 

Using Intelligence

Many regulated firms use manual call sampling to provide performance and compliance insights. 

It’s an inexact, time-hungry and yet constrained science. Managers can only listen to a limited number of calls, often acting only after the event. 

In recent years Avoira’s specialist CX team has been championing a highly sophisticated, AI-powered, speech and text analytics solution, Xdroid. This captures, analyses and transcribes every customer communication, in real-time. 

Operating in real-time, Xdroid empowers agents to take appropriate action at the appropriate time.

Not only does it capture keywords but a range of emotions. For example, if a caller is disappointed, uncertain, calm, stressed, happy or unhappy, the software flags it – live on screen. This empowers the agent to take appropriate action at the appropriate time. 

This clearly has substantial commercial benefit. The strengths and weakness of call structures can be assessed against, not a few, but all communications, to enhance sales, renewal and service performance. 

When it comes to identifying vulnerable customers, Xdroid is incredibly useful. 

The FCA talks of vulnerability being a spectrum of risk. This could embrace physical and mental health, poor literacy and/or numeracy skills, life changes, susceptibility to emotional and financial shock…and more. 

There’s a lot in play. One of Xdroid’s many strengths is that it can be taught to identify multiple factors. 

Customers showing signs of risk can be identified and flagged by Xdroid to the Compliance team which can then provide appropriate support.

At Avoira, we’ve been working with many customers who are now identifying potential vulnerable customers based on the language within the call. 

These language identifiers embrace factors like stressful life events, mental health conditions, financial difficulties, physical disabilities, learning difficulties and other high-risk language.  A vulnerability risk score can then be determined based on the combinations of potential vulnerabilities identified by Xdroid. 

Customers showing signs of risk can be identified and flagged to the Compliance team which can then provide appropriate support, or one step further – which is guiding the agent live in a call, to support the customer in the best way possible and automatically alert a manager where appropriate. 

Remember, it can do this for every call, whilst generating transcripts and scoring agents on their adherence, or otherwise, to the protocols incorporated with a firm’s call structures.  

It can also automatically deliver a range of bespoke reports, the factors and parameters of which are specified by the business.  

Evidencing internal and FCA compliance for every call, Xdroid is a compliance manager’s dream.

So, there you go. It does right by the customer whilst evidencing compliance with both internal protocols and FCA regulations for every call.  It’s a compliance manager’s dream.  

It is also invaluable at the other end of the line, helping managers monitor agent wellbeing. Emotional and keyword triggers can provide early warning of stress and distress, again enabling timely intervention to prevent escalation. 

Of course these benefits sit alongside those which often first motivate firms to examine Xdroid: it’s ability to guide more successful sales and service outcomes and deliver objective insights into agent performance.  

As one customer put it, “Xdroid does all the grunt.”  That it does. What’s more, with the FCA shortly set to roll-out a whole raft of new outcome-led, evidence-heavy Consumer Duty regulations, it’s value to financial services firms is only set to increase. 


Want to learn more about how Xdroid could enhance your firm’s regulatory compliance, agent wellbeing as well as it sales and service performance? Click here to request a demo or book a meeting with Ian Taylor, Head of CX. Alternatively contact the Avoira team on 0333 001 5151.