23 February 2015

Blog - TSB’s Helen Rose explains how complaints give her an insight into TSB’s customer service

Customer complaints are really important to me because they give an insight into where we're not getting it quite right. With nearly five million customers and over 850,000 transactions processed each day, things do sometimes go wrong and I am sorry for that.

What the numbers say

We made really good progress in 2014, reducing our total customer complaint numbers by more than a quarter. And today, we've also posted our FCA reportable complaints data - these are complaints which are not fully resolved within the first 48 hours of receipt. TSB received 10,042 reportable complaints in the last six months of 2014 and of these, 9,071 were specifically banking related, equating to 1.2 per 1,000 banking accounts.

If we exclude complaints about legacy products such as packaged accounts sold before TSB re-launched, our total complaints are 1.0 per 1,000 banking accounts. This adjusted figure gives a much truer representation of our 'current' level of customer service and the work we have done to reduce the number of complaints we receive.

We're listening and improving

When looking at complaints it is easy to get lost in the numbers. But it's when you listen to the calls and read the letters that a complaint really hits home. 

We really value the feedback we receive from our customers and I am grateful that they have taken the time to tell us what is wrong. It is important that we are listening to what our customers are saying - it's how we learn and improve. 

  • Customers told us they don't like waiting in a queue when phoning a bank, so we reduced our call waiting times to 21 seconds, on average, in the second half of 2014.
  • 300 customers got in touch last year to say we should be contacting customers when they pay off their mortgage - it's a big deal.  So we now write to these customers to congratulate them on becoming mortgage free.
  • Customers tell us they have lots of passwords to memorise, so we have made it more convenient by giving them the same memorable number for both online and telephone banking.

We're pleased that our complaint figures are declining, but we are not complacent - a complaint is still a complaint. We take each and every complaint seriously, but it's how we manage them and respond to the feedback that we feel sets us apart.

  • Almost three quarters (74%) of complaints we received in the second half of 2014 were handled within 48 hours of receipt.  
  • During the same period, we resolved 87% of total customer complaints within three days, and 90% within five days.
  • This year we're up-skilling all 6,200 customer facing Partners with customer experience training.
  • Our Partners are measured solely on their skills, attitudes and behaviours

We will continue to post our complaints data onto our customer hub - Truth and Banking  - rather than bury the figures on our main website. Truth and Banking is where we 'lift the bonnet' on all things TSB, so we can have an open and transparent dialogue with our customers. 

I would love to be able to say that in time we will eradicate all complaints, but I know that's not realistic. What I will say is that we will always be listening, improving and doing things differently - raising the customer service bar even higher for ourselves. 

Watch this space….

Helen Rose


'Helen Rose - Chief Operating Officer'

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