Your complete guide to the FCA's Business Plan 2023/24
The financial pressure on consumers has further increased this April, with many witnessing a
The financial pressure on consumers has further increased this April, with many witnessing a persistent rise in their bills. Energy costs continue to escalate in line with the energy price cap increase – along with spikes in other utilities such as council tax, water and broadband costs.
This fresh wave of rising prices means more and more consumers are facing financial hardship, and many will be reaching out to their financial providers for help and support.
In turn, this will likely result in a rise in customer contact for many firms. Ultimately, customers want their problems solved quickly and effectively – and this is particularly true when dealing with complaints. During the first half of 2022, financial services firms received 1.88m complaints the FCA reports – an increase of 1% on the previous two quarters.
And so ensuring you have the right plans and processes in place will be fundamental to supporting your customers. Now’s the ideal time to take stock and ensure you have the staff, the right skills and the experience to handle complaints effectively and remediate customers with care and diligence during these uncertain times.
In reality, all firms will have to deal with complaints at some time or other. But what can set your business apart is your ability to approach the process sensitively and suitably – whilst taking steps to mitigate the risk of the same problem happening again down the line.
First and foremost, ensure your complaint handlers are open and transparent with the customer by clearly explaining the details of your complaints procedure and listening carefully to any concerns they may have.
After all, the more information you give your customer at the outset to ensure their complaint is handled in good faith and time, the better.
As obvious as it seems, your first port of call is to confirm what caused the detrimental turn of events for your customer.
For example, was your advice unsuitable due to one or more factors not being properly assessed at the start of the customer’s journey? Or perhaps inefficient processes hampered your ability to learn all you can about the client?
Clearly identifying what went wrong is not only important in resolving the client’s specific complaint, but it’s also a crucial part of the Consumer Duty’s consumer support outcome.
Widening your focus and looking beyond one complaint in isolation is a critical step towards identifying potential negative patterns and trends before they have the chance to take root.
As such, you’ll want to take a fresh look at any similar cases in your back book to check whether there are any underlying trends that could lead to similar unsatisfactory results. And if there are, take swift action to prevent them impacting other customers.
An impartial appraisal of your process from an external, dedicated compliance expert could also help save time and money at this stage, as they’ll be able to offer an unbiased perspective to point you in the right direction when it really matters.
Learning all you can from the complaints you receive is the best way to stop the same problems happening again – whilst ensuring that delivering positive customer experience remains at the core of your products and processes.
So, it’s key to consider two points in particular:
But not only that: at this juncture, it’s critical to ensure you’re dedicating enough resource and attention to resolving complaints with an open mind and accommodating attitude.
That way, you’ll be in the best possible position to continually grow and evolve from them as a business.
When it comes to complaints management, we take a holistic approach – our Intelligent Compliance solutions bring together smart people and smart technologies, devised to provide a highly efficient and cost-effective complaint handling process. And because we know that one size doesn’t fit all, we give you a choice – so you can opt for the right option for you.
Best of all, we provide true value by identifying the root causes of complaints and providing recommendations to fix them. As a result, you’ll gain knowledge and Management Information to help you strengthen your compliance and tools to encourage customer loyalty.
Get in touch to find out how you can strengthen compliance to mitigate future risks while enhancing customer experiences and encouraging loyalty.