18 Mar Financial transcription services and online meetings in a post-COVID world
All businesses worldwide, including financial transcription providers, will feel the ripple effects of the pandemic for a long time to come – that much is certain – and not least when it comes to online meetings.
As we approach a year to the day since the start of ‘Lockdown 1’, it feels like as good a time as any to reflect on what has changed – the good and the bad – in the world of finance and for those who provide transcription services to the financial sector.
A little about who we are
We launched the company in 2007, when regulation didn’t dictate that professionals in the finance sector had to write notes or type up meetings or calls, and remembering the facts after the event was pretty impossible. Since then, we have flourished, and the majority of our clients continue to come from this sector, mainly because word of mouth has invariably seen our name come up when discussing the need for transcripts. See our client testimonials here and how we meet their financial transcription needs.
In a world where regulation and governance are becoming stricter, we could all do with a helping hand – especially now amidst a pandemic, and as we look to the future – and there are many companies, services, products and tools for the job, including us. However, we have something extra to offer. VoiceNotes may not strictly be a piece of ‘technology’, but behind the scenes, we are a well-oiled, efficient machine. Length of dictation dependent, it can take only minutes from when you hang up your call to receiving your voicenote in your inbox. Every dictation passes through a two-step quality process: it is first transcribed by one of our typists, and then expertly proofread by one of our editorial-grade proofreaders. We do not use AI or voice recognition, and this sets us apart from many dictation services. Every voicenote is processed with human intuition, so you will not need to waste valuable time correcting mishears and the wrong choice of homophone!
Financial transcription and security
Another of our USPs is our stringent security. The nature of our sector specialism dictates (pun intended!) that we are heavily vetted before any contracts are signed. We are ISO 27001-accredited, and this gives our clients peace of mind in knowing that their meeting notes, internal memos, employee appraisals, etc are safe. Moreover, it’s not just our systems and practices that are scrutinised – all employees undergo a CRB check upon joining the company.
Will online meetings stay, and will this affect the work that financial transcription providers do?
A year ago, the ‘virtual meeting’ changed from niche to norm quite literally overnight. Since then, there have been countless hours spent sat in front of screens, and ‘Zoom/Teams fatigue’ is now a bona fide ailment amongst workers in client-centric occupations such as advice, planning and asset management. To what extent online meetings will be a go-to in a post-COVID world remains to be seen, but there is certainly an anticipation that flexible working, at the very least, will become much more commonplace; consequently, there is thus the argument that online meetings won’t disappear altogether. Indeed, it’s likely that they may, one day, simply be called ‘meetings’.
Getting back on the road
For those who can’t wait to be ‘be back out there’, face-to-face meetings, we know, can’t return soon enough. For our sales clients, for example – those whose day-to-day activity involves driving around the country and, well, meeting people – the remote working experience has resulted in a significant reduction in business for them. These workers thrive on the physical engagement with prospects and clients alike to drive their sales, particularly new sales. For many, feeling like they are ‘not meeting someone new properly’ is the biggest obstacle in their way. Meetings in the virtual arena, for them, simply can’t be made as memorable. Attention spans can be weaker, or shorter, and distractions are aplenty. Therefore, by extension, a salesperson’s product is less memorable, and they can’t use their skills as easily to pull their prospective buyer back ‘into the moment’. At VoiceNotes, we have seen this manifest itself in a reduction in calls during those golden minutes between meetings, or when the clients are on the road travelling to their next meeting. Pre-COVID, this precious time was used to dictate meeting notes while everything was still fresh and vivid, and when captured this way, not only is a better quality of meeting note recorded, but the arduous administrative task is dealt with in a timely, efficient manner. As pre-pandemic working practices return, transcription services will see a pick-up in these concise, but sometimes short, meeting notes.
Maintaining those all-important client relationships
On the flipside, however, advisers and asset managers, many of whom service existing clients as much as (if not more than) new clients, have been able to maintain largely uninterrupted service levels during this time. When there is an existing relationship, the dynamic of an online or virtual meeting changes immeasurably. In direct contrast to sales meetings, these types of meetings – formal review meetings or less formal catch-ups – are a lot more personal and don’t necessitate extensive travel around the country (though, of course, pre-COVID, this was all part of the service that advisers offered to clients); therefore, conducting them by remote means has not presented anything like the number problems it has for salespeople. These types of meetings tend to last for a long time (often even longer than usual in a virtual setting) and often result in the client leaving much longer, more detailed dictations. We have experienced this ourselves, with dictations regularly approaching or exceeding ten minutes in duration. Thus, if online meetings remain a solid part of working practices in years to come, this pattern is likely to continue. With the lack of a commute eating up a good two hours or more of advisers’ time every day, one might also imagine that meetings would be longer or more frequent; however, one trend that has emerged in this shift from physical to virtual meetings is that whilst individual meetings aren’t necessarily longer, the time spent in meetings during a working day is longer. As a result, for those who use a service like VoiceNotes, this would translate into increased usage.
Working with you for maximum rewards
Whatever your specialism in the financial world, your meeting content, and the quality of that content, is of paramount importance. How common online meetings are in the future will not much alter the requirements for services like ours. Moreover, if this is a new service that you are looking for due to an increased workload, or as a result of the loss of an administrative function in your business, it’s important to know that, if you conduct thorough due diligence, the right provider for you can truly be an asset. Invest in your time, invest in your productivity, and reap the returns!
Written by Sarah Wildblood, Proofreader & Marketing Manager.