Case Study | How Merchants keeps compliance a top priority for a financial services client

Case Study | How Merchants keeps compliance a top priority for a financial services client


Regulatory compliance is the top priority for all our financial services organisations, including one of our UK clients. For customers of financial services products in the UK, many had been mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) in the past, sold along with other products like loans, credit cards, store cards, car finance and mortgages.

Thanks to a new regulation by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), customers have been given the option to claim back the money they’ve paid for PPI. Our UK client helps these customers submit detailed claim forms to financial institutions and banks for their PPI refunds, where 80% of completed claims result in successful refunds. As many as 64 million PPI policies were sold in the UK between 1990 and 2010 with some going as far back as the 1970s, and more than £29bn has already been paid back.


  • Excellent customer experience
  • 15% rise in returns on outbound calls
  • Rapid scalability of services
  • Outperforming targets
  • >25% rise in productivity
  • Innovative compliance technology
  • Lower costs of engagement


Following the launch of an awareness campaign to customers about PPI claims on various media channels, our client needed to reduce its advertising and marketing costs. At the same time, the company needed to drive growth in returns of the required customer forms, in order to submit these PPI claims to banks and other financial houses.

Boost return rates

After cutting back on expensive advertising, return rates were not as high as expected. With customers contacting the company on its website, return rates dropped by 15% owing to the complexity of the information required. Blank forms were automatically sent out, with no direct customer interaction and missed opportunities to gain more detailed information at first contact. The company also faced issues relating to handling claims from before 2009.

Regulatory compliance

With return rates dropping, the client needed to work with an experienced partner that could ensure a consistent two thirds return rate. As well as ensuring strict compliance with financial regulations, there was a clear requirement to engage customers and drive commitment to the process, through effective communication and direct human interaction.


Merchants provided an expert team of people familiar with the unique demands of financial services. Once the team fully understood the specific compliance requirements, the team set about delivering an outbound pre-claim sales service. Delivering the service through our existing site in Durban, Merchants has achieved targets to ensure a 60% return rate within only six months.

Easily scalable, the Merchants centre is now ideally geared to support flexible customer engagement through outbound contact, as and when required. Processes are more efficient, and underpinned by innovative technology that ensures strict security and data safety compliance.


Once the Merchants team had a clear understanding of our client’s unique financial compliance requirements, an experienced team leader was recruited along with dedicated agents. As well as providing quality assurance expertise and advice, Merchants employed a data specialist to assist the company in analysing historical data. The results informed the way forward, to establish dialling rules and processes to drive more efficiency. Merchants Head of IT assisted with set up of the operation, to support remote access to protected information in the UK, in line with strict regulations.

More specifically, the Merchants team has been able to deliver:

Scalable experienced resources

As customer service specialists, Merchants has been able to provide experienced agents and staff members to support our client’s need. Along with dedicated claims agents, a further 12 agents have been put in place to support the wider remit of administration and customer services – which translates into a four-fold increase in staff numbers in one year. Merchants can ramp up resources as required, and offer the ability to test campaigns quickly and exibly. Our client is impressed with the quality and standard of our work, and onshore trainers have been impressed by the dedication of SA agents, resulting in more upskilling and training opportunities.

Competitive controlled costs

With a 15% rise in pre-claim return rates to help drive further sales, document processing productivity is well above the company’s KPIs by a third. As well as higher sales, the result has meant reduced operating costs by virtue of location and enhanced process efficiency. Merchants has also been able to assist with further qualified sales and retention through contact via existing databases that were previously unused.

Financial services data and security compliance

Using the best technology to provide remote desktops, Merchants’ team of IT experts has ensured full compliance in terms of strict data security and privacy regulations. Databases are held in the UK, and accessed via high level controls to fulfil data protection requirements. For older customer claims dating back to before 2008, which were previously inaccessible, the Merchants team has doubled pre-claims to 40%.

Process efficiencies/ process improvements

Along with ensuring the efficient delivery of paperwork to customers, the team suggested contacting customers within 72 hours to drive better outbound engagements through contact.

Processes are more efficient, and underpinned by innovative technology that ensures strict security and data safety compliance.

By providing the resources, supported by additional senior management, both the inbound and outbound service has been staggered, ensuring optimal use of resources. Communication between Merchants and our client is excellent, with an open ideas exchange and monthly catch ups to map further productivity opportunities.

As well as streamlining the interaction process, the Merchants team developed a script to ensure better engagement with customers. Rather than send out documents and forms without contact, Merchants agents would focus on ensuring genuine customer interest and the return of the required documents.

In revising outbound calling patterns, the team has been able to use staggered outbound contact calls to boost the connect rate with customers, and to ensure that the client was finding the right time to contact its customers.

Quality assurance

Merchants expert QA team audits every call, to ensure that all processes are mapped accordingly to deliver an excellent level of service with a view to expanding its customer service remit for the client.

Where to next

Thanks to the rise in returns and improved customer contact, the group has expanded the remit of its partnership with Merchants. With clear evidence of productivity enhancements and competitive costing, Merchants’ ability to meet and exceed all of its KPIs has meant the group has grown its remit to include administrative and customer service operations to South Africa.

Communication is excellent, with an open ideas exchange and monthly catch ups to map further productivity opportunities.

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