Resolving customer complaints quickly and effectively is fundamental to good customer service. We ask our employees to welcome a complaint, take ownership, and resolve it there and then if possible. Where the issue is more complex, one of our complaint handling experts will take ownership of the complaint. In 2016, we completed the migration of the vast majority of complaint handlers onto a single complaints management system, allowing us to have a more streamlined means of managing, escalating and tracking of complaints raised by our customers.
Reducing complaints by addressing the underlying causes remains a key priority for the business. In 2016, we delivered over 80 specific initiatives aimed at reducing complaints with a further 54 planned for implementation in 2017. Comparing our FCA reportable complaints volumes between H1 and H2 2016 on a like-for-like basis (total complaints), NatWest and RBS reported decreases of 12% and 18% respectively.
We have an ambition to be the least complained about large bank by 2018, with the goals of having fewer complaints and a lower Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) overturn rate than the industry average for large banks. We continue to perform better than the industry average for FOS overturn. In addition, referrals to FOS fell by 31% for NatWest and 30% for RBS in H2 compared with H1, as PPI referrals reduced by a third and packaged referrals halved.*
In H2 2016, new reporting requirements were adopted across the industry. The major change from previous reporting periods was a broadening to include complaints that were resolved within two business days. Previously, these complaints were excluded when firms reported complaints.
* 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)
** Includes Williams & Glynn branches (divested)
*** Scores are based on a three month rolling basis and calculated on "all Satisfied Responses" e.g. "Extremely / Very / Fairly satisfied unless otherwise stated. Scores are as at end of October 2016. Both satisfaction measures ceased at the end of October 2016 and a new survey based on the Net Promotor System will launch in 2017.
**** Source: Charterhouse – Q4 2015/2016, £0-2m claimed main bank, data is quarterly rolling. Latest base size, England & Wales: NatWest E&W (250) RBS Scotland (75).Question: How satisfied were you with the way your complaint was handled? Excludes DK/refused/too early to say/not expecting a response.
***** Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.