HSBC is one of the most reliable names in UK banking, and with two new UK Complaint Handling Awards in their trophy cabinet, the high street fixture is on its way to a very successful 2018.

The bank won Gold in the Best Finance and Insurance category at the gala event, which was held recently in London’s exclusive Park Plaza Riverbank.

Meanwhile, the bank’s Mortgages arm won in the Product & Service Improvement – Improving Customer Experience category, with Aegon UK emerging as Silver winners.

Judges enjoyed a detailed presentation from HSBC staff about the bank’s decision to unite complaint handlers in a new ‘Service Recover Team’ to “create a function focused on handing complaints with the best service for every unhappy customer and enabling the bank to use complaints and feedback to properly learn and fix problems so they don’t happen again”.

An HSBC spokesperson said of the initiative:

“In a short period of time we’ve seen massive improvements to the speed and quality of complaint handling, going from middle of the pack to the top of internal and external measures, with best in class outcomes from the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Our new insight and root cause analytics has enabled HSBC to understand and fix long-standing problems. Our costs and resources have dropped with increased efficiency; and complaints ‘residual risk’ has been downgraded from very high, to high, and then to medium for the first time ever.”

Meanwhile, HSBC Mortgages staff told judges how before the new team was created in 2016, one-in-three people taking out a mortgage submitted a complaint. The firm was candid in how the process was failing customers.

A Mortgages spokesperson explained:

“We found that 73 percent of mortgage complaints arose in the application and processing of a new mortgage. Contextualising our complaints data with mortgage sales volumes led us to the true level of dissatisfaction and the realisation that our mortgage experience was incredibly poor. Customers were getting the right product in the end, but the journey was terrible and customers were routinely complaining that they felt ‘in the dark’ about what was happening.”

After working “relentlessly” through 2016 and 2017, mortgage complaints fell by 40 percent, amounting to 15,000 fewer complaints per year.

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