OneFamily's Steve Ferrari on a Technology Driven Future

OneFamily's Steve Ferrari on a Technology Driven Future

OneFamily's Steve Ferrari explores the technological transformation and customer-centric innovations in finance, from investments to protection

As a mutual, OneFamily’s goal is to help modern families thrive financially, offering affordable and accessible products that are right for them. It’s owned by its members, for its members, and it has nearly 1.6m customers and £5.5bn in funds under management.

OneFamily offers lifetime ISAs, junior ISAs, child trust funds, bonds, lifetime mortgages and over 50s life cover, as well as life insurance and critical illness cover under the Beagle Street brand.

Over recent years, it has undergone enormous technological transformation, with the aim of giving its customers even more control, access and autonomy over their finances. 

Leading on OneFamily’s technology and IT change projects is the organisation’s Chief Transformation Officer, Steve Ferrari. Since joining OneFamily in 2013, Steve has developed and delivered strategies to improve the experience for its customers, partners and colleagues. Much of his work focuses on the use of technology to boost efficiency within the business, particularly through AI and in the future using gen AI.

Steve said: “It’s a fantastic time to be working in technology within the financial services industry, as developments in the area are advancing all the time. My goal is to create and implement a strategy that enables OneFamily to use these new technologies in a way that benefits our customers and makes life as easy for them as possible. For example, we use speech analytics to review the calls we receive and improve our understanding of where our customers may need a little more support during our conversations with them. 

“We’ve always recorded our calls but having them transformed into text means we can now search for trends and closely analyse what’s really happening to identify any improvements we can make. This has not only led to better experiences when people speak to us over the phone, but it has also allowed us to update our web pages with the information customers are looking for. That simply can’t be done to the same extent with thousands of hours of audio recordings, but speech analytics makes it possible.”

OneFamily is the biggest child trust fund provider in the UK, holding over 25% of the market. With funds maturing when account holders turn 18, the organisation was faced with a challenge to make the process as accessible as possible for thousands of young people. It has embraced digital technology to support these customers, by employing a biometric app to guide them through the identification and verification process.  

Steve said: “We recognised this generation would be more comfortable using their phones to supply their documents and verify their identity, rather than having to go through the traditionally cumbersome process of providing certified copies of everything. The app we use is secure and convenient, putting the customer rather than the process first.”

Similarly, younger customers like using OneFamily’s chatbot feature, as it’s quick, efficient and gives them the information that they need instantly. It’s also useful in spotting trends in customers’ requests, which the organisation learns from to provide ongoing improvements to the way it communicates.

Steve said: “In time, we see our chatbot potentially offering customers a richer experience as we start to explore the capabilities of generative AI.

“We’re also using AI in our Knowledge Management System, which is a tool our teams use to find what they need from our process and procedures guides. Being able to quickly find the information they need means a better service for our customers. It also helps us to spot gaps in knowledge so we can improve the training of our colleagues.”

The surge in AI over recent years is affecting many different aspects of work and life and, according to a recent ONS Report, 32% of adults said they feel AI will benefit them. But using AI and gen AI is not without its challenges. Many have concerns about the rise in this type of technology, as 28% of adults think AI brings greater risks than benefits and 36% do not think AI can have a positive impact on their lives. 

Steve said: “AI will bring a big change to the way businesses operate, there’s no doubt about that. And with big change there are naturally going to be some fears – but there are also going to be some fantastic opportunities for those that really embrace the future.

“Of course, as a responsible organisation, our approach will be cautious - we want the AI we use to be safe, proven technology. And we will always ensure the right checks and balances are in place – that’s sensible business practice.”

In embracing the positive potential of AI and employing it in an innovative way, OneFamily can see the benefits it will bring to its members and the support it will provide the business as it grows.

OneFamily’s partnership with iPipeline to drive growth

To further support its plans for growth, OneFamily has partnered with software development company, iPipeline, to launch a new digital platform. This will enable the migration of its customer policies from multiple platforms to one singular, self-service platform.

Steve said: “Ensuring customers are satisfied with our service is our priority and this new digital platform will make it even easier for them to have more access and control over their finances. The move to iPipeline’s SSG (Self-Service Generation) platform is our biggest recent technological development and last year we completed our first major migration of 1.2m policies over one weekend. We want to make sure customers always have a positive experience when interacting with OneFamily and this new technology is a key part of this.

“The modernisation of our internal systems has also delivered increased efficiency within OneFamily’s award-winning customer services team. This has allowed our colleagues to provide an even better service to our customers, which is at the heart of what we do.”

Looking to the future, Steve’s priority is to continue working on the successful delivery of SSG. Steve said: “Over the next 12 months, our goal is to continue the migration work with iPipeline on the next phase of re-platforming to move the remaining smaller books of business over to the new system. 

“We’re also focusing on enhancing our data, marketing and sales capabilities using technologies such as using Microsoft Dynamics for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and Microsoft Azure Data Factory for ingesting, preparing, and transforming our data at scale.”

These technologies are a vital part of OneFamily’s plans for growth and will allow the organisation to continue providing a high-quality service to its customers.

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