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The unquantifiable benefits of a good risk assessment tool

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

A high-quality risk-assessment solution helps corporate anti-money laundering (AML) and customer due diligence (CDD) teams in a number of ways, but not every benefit is easily quantifiable. For example, the overall “customer experience” a company delivers cannot be reduced to a number, because it involves multiple factors that lead to a human response that varies from person to person.

But just because a benefit is difficult to measure doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Thomson Reuters recently commissioned Forrester Research to conduct a study of its CLEAR ID Confirm and Risk Inform risk-assessment tools in order to find out what actual users say about the product’s value to them. Users cited plenty of quantifiable benefits, but they also identified several benefits that are difficult to measure but extremely important nonetheless.

Some of those unquantified—but no less valuable—benefits are:

1. Flexibility of delivery mode

Users of the CLEAR suite have the option of running the software through a web browser, an application programming interface (API), or a batch service. This flexibility allows users to select the delivery mode—or a mix of modes—that makes the most sense for their organization and for their specific use cases. In personal interviews, CLEAR users told Forrester that being able to choose a delivery mode made it much easier to manage the tasks they had to accomplish. The web browser option made the program easy to use right out of the gate, while the API option made day-to-day due diligence more efficient, and the batch service option helped one customer get through a backlog of due diligence work and back up to speed.

2. Additional business from faster customer onboarding

At financial institutions, any delay in the onboarding process means risking that prospective customers might take their business elsewhere rather than wait for approval. According to Forrester, however, CLEAR users said they were able to win additional business because of the increased speed with which they could process and approve customers. By streamlining the due-diligence process and eliminating delays, CLEAR users said they were able to make informed onboarding decisions faster and seal deals they might otherwise have lost. In some cases, same-day service was the difference-maker, and over the long term, faster onboarding means AML/CDD teams can approve and welcome more new customers in the same general time frame.

3. Improved customer experience

As mentioned before, quantifying the “customer experience” is difficult because it really reflects how well the sum of an organization’s parts work together to deliver their specific service. By definition, the only person who can evaluate the customer experience is the customer, so there can be a range of different perceptions and responses. According to Forrester, CLEAR users said that their customers valued the efficiency of their approval and onboarding process, and that faster approvals improved the overall customer experience.

4. Improved employee experience

Quantifying employee satisfaction isn’t easy, but it does factor into talent retention, staff turnover, and overall costs incurred hiring and training new employees. And let’s face it, most of the methods used for manual onboarding processes by AML/CDD employees are time-consuming, frustrating, and boring—and boredom can of course lead to loss of morale, burnout, and reduced productivity. While interviewing CLEAR customers, however, Forrester found that after the platform was implemented, their AML/CDD employees enjoyed their daily work more, which boosted morale. “The satisfaction among employees is high,” said one respondent, because the information presented in CLEAR is so easy to interpret and made things “a lot easier.”

5. Future risk-assessment flexibility

Certainty about the future viability of a tool acquired today is what some executives might call “peace of mind.” While not exactly measurable, peace of mind can come from knowing that a tool bought today is flexible and scalable enough to adapt to the organization’s needs as it grows. Indeed, according to Forrester, customers of CLEAR ID Confirm and Risk Inform liked the fact that their current use of these products would make it easier to implement additional products from the CLEAR suite as their business needs evolved. For example, after using CLEAR to prevent fraud at the front end of the onboarding process, additional CLEAR modules might help them investigate fraud after the fact. Or, having familiarized themselves with CLEAR for a while, they might find additional ways to use the program. In any case, CLEAR customers told Forrester that their familiarity with the program would likely help them deploy any new tools very quickly, enhancing the larger platform’s overall utility, flexibility, and appeal.

Again, none of these benefits is definitively measurable, but they do underscore the fact that the value and utility of CLEAR solutions extend far beyond the platform itself. Indeed, CLEAR users consistently report that both their customers and employees are happier when the onboarding process is more efficient and that the business itself definitely benefits, even if these “benefits” can’t be reduced to a mere number on a balance sheet.

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