Resolving customer complaints quickly and effectively is fundamental to providing good customer service. We ask our employees to welcome any complaints, take ownership of them, and resolve them there and then if possible. Where the issue is more complex, one of our complaint handling experts will take ownership of it. The vast majority of our complaint handlers use a single complaints management system, giving us a streamlined means of managing, escalating and tracking the complaints raised by our customers.
A key priority for the business is to reduce any complaints we receive by addressing the underlying causes. In 2018, we worked to deliver 70 specific initiatives aimed at reducing complaints.
Our ambition is to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy. As part of this we are aiming to have fewer FCA reportable complaints*, and a lower Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) overturn rate than the industry average for large banks. In line with most of our major competitors, overall referrals to the FOS reduced between H1 2018 and H2 2018. In detail, referrals of NatWest fell by 19% and RBS by 26%, this was partly due to fewer customers referring PPI complaints with PPI referrals for NatWest falling by 23% and RBS by 31%. Over the same period customers referrals of complaints about Everyday Banking fell by 18% for NatWest and 17% for RBS.
Comparing our FCA reportable complaints volumes between H1 and H2 2018 on a like-for-like basis (total complaints), NatWest and RBS reported decreases of 7% and 12% respectively. Discounting the impact of PPI, both brands saw a decrease in complaints between H1 2018 and H2 2018 – a 10% fall for NatWest and a 17% fall for RBS.
*Defined according to FCA definitions available at https://www.fca.org.uk/data/complaints-data
** A referral to the Ombudsman can occur when a financial firm does not provide a reply within eight weeks or the complainant is unhappy with the response. Full details can be found on the FOS website (http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faq/complain.html)
*** Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.