Five ways we strive to provide market-leading service

Although technology plays a huge part in helping us deliver market-leading service, Sinead Fennessy, Standard Life’s Platform Operations Director, explains why great service takes more than just IT.

In a recent survey carried out by Standard Life, an overwhelming 97% of advisers rated service as either ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’ for a truly great platform experience.

It’s why service remains a top priority for us, and why we’ve based our service to advisers on five key commitments in line with what advisers themselves have told us they need from their platform provider:

  • We’ll be available when advisers need us
  • We’ll listen and respond to advisers’ needs
  • We’ll make sure advisers can rely on our services
  • We’ll go the extra mile to help advisers achieve more for their clients
  • We’ll prioritise service continuity through change

We deliver these commitments in a range of ways, through day-to-day interactions with advisers, all the way through to the way in which we support advisers when we are making adjustments to our platform. We always prioritise service continuity in times of change. 

And while technology is critical in allowing us to deliver on these service commitments, it has also been a support tool for helping us establish relationships with advisers.

Because building genuine relationships with advisers makes the difference between offering a transactional service and offering an exceptional service experience. Most importantly, the personal support we can offer advisers allows them, in turn, to deliver a great service experience to their clients.

Making sure we offer time and knowledge

A big part of our service offering is simply being easy to reach at the end of the phone and having teams with the time and knowledge needed to answer adviser questions fully.

To help us to provide this support, we introduced a single new telephony platform in our Elevate and Wrap contact centres in March 2018. The new platform enables us to give a more personalised experience for advisers. For example, it uses voice or number recognition to help identify who’s calling, so an adviser can have their call routed through to the right person immediately. When our teams know who they’re speaking to straightaway, there’s no need for an adviser to recap the case history, so keeping the calls as valuable as possible.

Making the time to record insight and harnessing technology

And we’ll continue to make sure advisers can rely on our service by building on our service proposition through a series of ongoing improvements, introducing ever more scalability and straight-through processing.

As our platform evolves and adviser businesses grow, we’re harnessing technology to help equip us to provide advisers with that consistent, reliable service and we’re ensuring our people have the knowledge they need to properly handle each adviser call. It’s the reason why one of our biggest investments is in staff training.

Continuing to improve our control environment

Our oversight and risk teams will continue to improve our control environment and will work with our partners to ensure we are always protecting our advisers, their customers and our business. Our advisers need to rely on what we do.

Supporting a ‘can-do’ culture within our business

Our commitment to delivering a market-leading service also means going the extra mile. We support a ‘can-do’ culture within our business and we encourage our teams to see every interaction with advisers as an opportunity to make a difference to the adviser’s business. And if we think advisers would benefit from a face-to-face session with one of our platform consultants, we’ll arrange it.

By promising to go the extra mile for advisers and sharing our operational knowledge and latest insight, we’re striving to create those genuine human partnerships that lie behind a market-leading service - a service which should ultimately benefit the end client.

Change will always be a constant

We also know that when an adviser chooses a platform to place client business, it’s more than just a short-term decision. The adviser is placing their trust in us and committing to a longer-term relationship. Service continuity through change, therefore, will always be critical. In 2018, as our business went through a significant transition with the sale of Standard Life Assurance Limited to The Phoenix Group, we worked tirelessly to ensure there was no service disruption to our clients.

Change is a constant, and as time goes on, helping advisers adjust to future changes is a key priority.

Core values help us lead the way in service   

We’re delighted to have been awarded Defaqto’s gold service ratings for both Wrap and Elevate, but we know that delivering a gold standard in service takes more than just technology. While it is transformative in improving efficiency and scalability, it is human understanding and support that remains core to great service.

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for advice that may be formulated on the basis of this information.

Sinead Fennessy, Standard Life’s Platform Operations Director

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