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Are banks on top of their complaint handling?

Today we read in the news that the Bank of Scotland has been fined £3.5m for mishandling complaints. It has been ordered to pay £17.5m compensation. Apparently this is largest ever fine for complaints handling levied by the Financial Services Authority.
The issues here are now somewhat dated as they relate to matters between 2007 and 2009 and they relate to investment business in certain investment products. One has to wonder why it has taken so long for this to be resolved.
It is interesting to see that the Bank of Scotland wrongly rejected 45% of complaints. There is a clear lesson here that the best time to resolve a complaint is when it is first mentioned. Rejecting it then being forced to reconsider and then acknowledging it was a valid complaint all along is not going to win prizes for good complaints handling.
Much store is invested in systems and process for discovering the root causes of complaints and that is all well and good. If something goes wrong you don’t want to repeat it. But at Reduce Complaints we wonder if enough attention is being paid to the people in the process? The customers will need effective handling from personnel skilled and trained in complaints resolution. 

Gordon Miles

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.