For many customers, the financial industry is one fraught with terms and conditions, confusing products and fee structures that are unclear. In an effort to protect consumers, the concept of Fair Treatment has risen over the past decade. This practice intends to improve market practices in the industry in a way that ensures that bank customers are treated more fairly than in the past.
Many countries have adopted Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) which is an outcomes-based regulatory approach designed to ensure that regulated financial institutions deliver set out fairness outcomes for their customers (to read more about the detail of TCF, click here). The adoption of TCF requires organisations to embed its ethos into their very culture and drive its principles from the very highest level.
While TCF compliance has indeed been broadly adopted, proving that customers feel fairly treated remains challenging. TCF evidence requires independent, statistically sound measurement, which is more often than not achieved through a Voice of the Customer programme, that amongst others, asks if a customer felt fairly treated during a transaction with the bank. It is important to note that fair treatment does not equate to customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer may well have been treated unfairly and not know it.
A VOC programme must uncover more than customer satisfaction
To this end, in pursuit of understanding fair treatment, any VOC programme must uncover more than customer satisfaction. Questions that, for example, ask a customer to rate the process, the information and advice shared or product explanation during a sale can be used to determine the fairness of a transaction.
It is furthermore advisable to ensure that all six TCF outcomes are measured periodically, and even more critical that these factors are understood from the perspective of a customer. For example, Outcome 5 refers to “Product Performance Expectations” which requires that a customer is provided with products that function in the manner that was sold to them and that they receive the support service that they were led to expect. A customer’s perception of this fairness outcome can only be determined after they have either received the product or utilised the service for a period of time and thus a post-sales survey in an ineffective measure of this outcome. More useful would be, for example, a lifetime survey, which is initiated at a set time post-sale or triggered by a post-sale activity, such as, first debit order.
The intention of TCF is not to create onerous expectations on financial institutions, but rather to aid consumers in receiving products and services that genuinely benefit them. The best way to understand how a customer feels is to listen directly to what they have said. The Voice of the Customer will provide insights into opportunities to improve product and service across the board and a clear insight into the fairness of treatment delivered by the organisation.
Download our banking case study to learn more about how we can help the financial industry through VOC.