TCF: Think beyond compliance to treating customers fairly

In 2011, the Financial Services Board (FSB) announced it would be implementing a Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) policy for the South African financial services industry by 2014. Based on a similar policy rolled out in the UK, it’s a consumer protection plan aimed at ensuring that fair treatment of customers is central to corporate culture.

TCF dictates that customers have to be treated fairly and properly at every point of interaction with the company. More specifically, of the six TCF outcomes companies are required to deliver, outcome number six relates to managing customer complaints.

Companies that want to start embedding a culture of TCF need to understand that managing feedback and complaints properly is critical, says Colyn Dee, director at Cirrus TechVue, a company that specialises in enterprise feedback and complaints management. He says the best way to start addressing TCF requirements in the organisation is to put in place a robust feedback management system to drive the inculcation of TCF.

“The FSB has stated that TCF must be incorporated throughout the company, so that everyone understands what TCF is and can apply it,” says Dee. “A good feedback and complaints management system provides evidence of customer experiences and enables organisations to use the information they glean from the system to drive change in the business, particularly when it comes to customer service, which is perhaps the biggest competitive differentiator in the financial services industry.”

By capturing all feedback, over time organisations can gain good insight into the root cause of complaints and then set out on a path to ensure that they meet the FSB’s reporting requirements around TCF. In addition it will help them start to address the other TCF outcomes.

An occasion to boost customer loyalty
“Why do people complain?” asks Dee. “Because they want something fixed. A complaint is a pivotal point in the relationship with a customer. Complaints transition customers from agnostic to opinionated. If treated well they become more loyal. If ignored they may move on. Less than one per cent of people complain. The others just take their business elsewhere. Handling complaints well gives you an opportunity like no other to drive up customer loyalty.”

Global research also shows that handling complaints poorly can put up to 12 per cent of an organisation’s annual revenue at risk, while responding appropriately can increase loyalty by as much as eight per cent.

“Make it easy for your customers to complain,” says Dee. “People don’t trust current processes. That is why they go straight to social media to vent their anger. What people want is a fair and consistent process – even if they don’t win. That is what makes them more loyal.”

Dee adds that complaints are often complex. It’s a familiar scenario. A customer will call to query a premium that has been incorrectly debited from their account. They’ll be repeatedly cut off by the IVR system and by the time they get through to the consultant they will be annoyed with the call centre. To make matters even worse, they might get through to a consultant who is having a bad day and will be rude to them.

“That’s three different areas of the business that will form part of the customer’s complaint, making it a complex and time-consuming matter,” says Dee. “What started off as a simple query has now become a multi-faceted complaint. The right technology will enable you to embed a consistent and fair process to capture and manage customer feedback so that you can go from anecdotal to analytical, get to the root cause of customer satisfaction issues, and address them.”

In addition, it enables the organisation to create a true culture of TCF that can be proven to the FSB when necessary. Considering that UK company Combined Insurance was fined £2,8 million in 2011 for TCF failures, non-compliance is simply not an option. By the same token, what would a one per cent improvement in customer loyalty do to your organisation’s bottom line?” asks Dee. “For one UK customer, it adds £10 million to the bottom line annually.”

Cirrus TechVue will be hosting an event titled “TCF – Thinking beyond compliance” on 4, 5 and 6 June at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. The three days will repeat the same agenda allowing delegates to select a suitable day. On the agenda is feedback form the FSB in a recent video interview, a customer case study on how to prepare for TCF, as well as a number of presentations from key UK Respond executives who will offer insight into how UK companies have addressed the same type of changes in regulations.

“Numbers will be limited to 25 people per event, and we urge insurance company CEOs, compliance officers and customer experience managers to attend,” says Dee.

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TCF: Think beyond compliance to treating customers fairly