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 complaints 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 reducing any complaints we receive by addressing the underlying causes. In 2017, we worked to deliver over 40 specific initiatives aimed at reducing complaints, with a further 70 planned for implementation in 2018.
Our ambition is to be number one for customer service, trust and advocacy. – Alongside this we are aiming to have fewer FCA reportable complaints*, and have a lower Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) overturn rate than the industry average for large banks. Referrals to the FOS fell by 20% for NatWest and 15% for RBS in 2017 compared with 2016, as PPI referrals reduced by 18% and packaged referrals halved.** Everyday banking overturn rates improved for both NatWest and during 2017, with H2 2017 rates of 26% and 27% respectively. Both firms continue to compare favourably to the overall industry average (32%). RBS’s overall overturn rate (40%) exceeded the industry average (34%) in H2 due to a temporary spike in PPI overturns.
Comparing our FCA reportable complaints volumes between H1 and H2 2017 on a like-for-like basis (total complaints), NatWest and RBS reported increases of 3% and 4% respectively. The increase has been driven by the number of PPI complaints received across the two brands (NatWest up 38% to 64,621 and RBS up 27% to 37,113) following the FCA publicity campaign. Discounting the impact of PPI, both brands saw a decrease in complaints between H1 2017 and H2 2017 of ~7%.
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.
*Defined according to FCA definitions available at https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/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.