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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Webster

A fed up retail customer writes

The customer is not always right but the way you handle complaints says a lot about your business.

Last May the Financial Ombudsman Service published figures showing:

  1. Over 508,881 new cases

  2. 49% of cases led to compensation for customers

  3. Four of the UK’s largest banking groups accounted for 62% of all complaints.

This is an appalling record but at the same time presents one of the big four banks with a huge opportunity. A chance to show they are different. And the easiest place to start would be on clearing up the current mess effectively. What does this mean?A proper complaints handling process that has:

  1. Senior management who are ultimately responsible

  2. Trained staff that know what they are talking about

  3. A single point of contact for the customer

  4. Proper records

  5. Key performance indicators that are applied

  6. Escalation processes that work

  7. Management information that reaches the Board

This isn’t rocket science, it’s important and it’s personal. Customers will accept mistakes happen provided they are properly resolved. If not the brand value is further eroded.

Of course this isn’t the end of the matter.

In wholesale markets operational weaknesses can be cleared up quickly. The usual method is for the regulator to threaten to stop a bank from dealing. This works wonders.

Boards should note stopping new retail business could be the FCA’s alternative.  And it too would work wonders.

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