Complaints data released by the FCA estimates that the total number of complaints decreased in the second half of last year by 14 percent, although changes in the way FCA measures complaints means that the number has gone up. A key new metric reveals firms’ ability to close complaints within three days, highlighting the increased pressure on firms to respond in real-time and to fast-track communication. The FCA report highlighted that 43 per cent of complaints were closed in this time period, rising to 63 per cent when PPI claims are excluded.
According to today’s FCA complaints data report, which helps assess how well financial services treat their customers over time, the largest number of complaints were related to general administration and customer service. 40 per cent of complaints are related to this topic, up from 27 per cent in the first six months of last year.
Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services, comments: “Poor customer experience costs banking and financial services £5.81 billion. Changing customer expectations put pressure on financial services firms to offer a round the clock service and many firms have adopted new technology solutions in response.
“The emergence of voice assistants and chatbots offer a new way of communicating with customers but firms mustn’t ignore the continued need to provide the possibility of speaking to a well-trained customer service professional. The technologies that will help firms to reduce friction in customer service are those which boost the efficiency of back-end administration so that agents can respond more quickly to customers. A harmonious blend of human interaction with digital tools should be the aim. Financial services companies should focus on modernising their IT infrastructure through automation so staff can redirect their focus to the customer, by taking away the headache of the more mundane repetitive tasks.
“Although we are seeing a trend in the total number of complaints reducing, financial services firms need to be constantly on top of the customer experience they offer. Automation matches speed with quality service and gifts banks with the agility their Fintech competitors have to ensure customer retention. Banks have an established customer base compared to new entrants, but in order to gain brand value they need to ensure they can service customers as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
Bhupender continues: “Customer Service inefficiencies are mirrored with high costs. Front line staff who are not equipped with the right skills and knowledge will result in longer queues and high abandonment rates. Many banks are turning to banking bots and voice assistants, as customers do want more choice in how they bank. But whilst the option of self-service is highly desirable for customers, firms must not forget to blend this an element of human interaction to enhance the customer’s experience.”