A report in Australian Banking and Finance said that the best risk management tool is still the informal dialogue that business officers have with their customers. According to ING Direct Australia’s Bart Hellemans, the engagement business managers have with their staff and their customers is still the most crucial tool in improving their products or services.
This way, he said businesses can find out about business risks from the consumers themselves. This is something professional and advanced analytical tools could have missed at any given time. Although these state-of-the-art risk assessment equipment are well and good, Mr. Hellemans believes talking to people is still the real deal.
During a speech he made before the AB+F Chief Risk Officer Panel Discussion & Luncheon 2013, the official said talking with business partners and customers in person will help owners better understand the risk their businesses are taking. When customers and partners are in their environment and their element, they are more prone to be honest with what they think of certain risks.
But it’s more than just talking that’s needed, Peter Deans of the Bank of Queensland, stated in a separate report in The Australia. Discussions regarding the satisfaction and confidence of customers must be free and open, adding that information about risk management should flow from up and down the business hierarchy.
Even without talking to consumers, business managers should be able to get their opinions and comments about risk management “by hook or by crook.” Mr. Deans also highlighted the importance of the participation of senior business officers in the understanding of risk factors to the organisation.
He also said that business leaders must be heavily involved in all aspects of their businesses, so that they will be able to understand the risks they are taking and how to address these risks. There should be an effort for officers to go out there, talk with the business staff and dialogue with customers to get good and reliable analytics and reporting.
In HSBC, there is a plan to establish an open-plan office environment where all risk factors personnel will be placed. Such informal discussions needed for risk management assessment shall be done in that office, says HSBC Bank Australia’s Charlotte Middleton.
And because HSBC is a global company, she would usually discuss with regional partners and other international branches about the risks being faced by the company. Ms. Middleton is particularly focused on discussing with her counterparts in Asia.