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Optimizing Complaints Quality Assurance – Taking it Beyond Compliance to Boost Morale

Optimizing Complaints Quality Assurance – Taking it Beyond Compliance to Boost Morale


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Optimizing Complaints Quality Assurance – Taking it Beyond Compliance to Boost Morale

13 Okt 2023

Eric Brown
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When it comes to complaints, quality assurance (QA) is a crucial component. Delivering a much-needed belt-and-braces approach to complaint handling checks and balances, robust complaints quality assurance has the potential to underpin good and fair outcomes for customers, helping to secure that all-important tick in the regulatory box.

But, as complaint volumes rise and the complex nature of complaints increases, there is more pressure than ever on complaints teams in a sector already known for its high employee turnover. QA has a bigger role to play, extending beyond regulatory compliance and helping to boost employee morale. However, to do this, QA has to be done well, taking its rightful place as a core component of the end-to-end complaint handling process.

Risk Mitigation With QA

Ultimately, good quality assurance helps to offset and mitigate the inherent risk of the complaints function, of which there are many:

  • Poor case handling – complaints quality assurance helps ensure all stages of the complaint journey is fit for purpose, resulting in fewer referrals to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and less likelihood of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) scrutiny, reducing the risk of brand damage not to mention loss of customers.

  • Lack of employee oversight – complaints quality assurance reports allow the tracking of individual and team skills and competencies, rewarding exquisite complaint handling and supporting those where there’s room for improvement.

  • Poor training – complaints quality assurance can help to identify targeted training needs specific to individual employees.

  • New starters – complaints quality assurance can help on-board new complaint handlers, managing their journey to accreditation / competence, preventing errors and freeing up the rest of the team from having to check their work.

  • Inefficiency – automated complaints quality assurance can help to speed-up time to resolution, automating previously time-consuming tasks.

  • Lack of transparency – complaints quality assurance can provide clear evidence in any regulatory scrutiny and for team members too, with a move away from manually selected QA checks towards a more transparent, automated process helping to reassure staff that they’re not being unfairly targeted.

As the complaints landscape changes, so must your QA process, responding to rising complaint volumes, increased complaint complexity and tighter regulatory requirements. Add to this the national labor shortage, in combination with an already transient workforce in the complaints sector, and it’s easy to see why things need to change.

Multitude of Benefits With QA

So, considering all of this, what else can a robust QA program help with?

1. Employee Morale

Poor morale has a negative impact on complaint handling, not only in terms of potentially poor decisions, but also causing delays to how rapidly complaints are resolved. With good complaints quality assurance in place, it’s possible to monitor how staff are performing, incentivizing employees to have high ‘scores’ when it comes to customer satisfaction, good resolutions and accurate record keeping. Additionally, staff training can help to boost morale, with well-trained, well-informed staff more likely to be satisfied with their role.

Using QA to recognize top performers helps raise the bar, highlighting exactly what ‘good’ looks like, and helping to build a high-performance culture. The right QA process will identify specific training needs for individual employees, informing performance improvement plan (PIP) by differentiating between different capabilities and skill levels. And, dynamic QA can step-up (or back) as needed in-line with how staff perform, which keeps it current, relevant and valuable.

2. Consumer Duty

Robust QA can enable a business to show how its processes are compliant with Consumer Duty and their understanding of their customer base and target markets. As firms continue to navigate how they can deliver against Consumer Duty guidelines, a good QA process can go a long way to demonstrating how the firm has implemented system controls that deliver against their customers’ needs. The FCA mandates that organizations need to keep diligent records to evidence that they’re meeting their Consumer Duty obligations and a good QA process can form a key part of this evidential information.

3. Vulnerability

Businesses need to ensure vulnerable customers are treated fairly, in-line with their specific needs—and the FCA asks that firms demonstrate and evidence how fair and equitable outcomes are being achieved. Again, a good QA program has a key role to play here being able to flex to provide focused vulnerability checking, reflecting the fact that one size very much does not fit all when it comes to vulnerability. QA can evidence how fair and equitable outcomes are achieved, as well as identifying where further training might be needed. Crucially, it can show where process improvements need to be made to underpin the fair treatment of vulnerable customers at every stage of the complaint journey.

4. Continuous Improvement

Not only can good QA help to improve core complaint management skills, but it can act as a real driver of continuous improvements for the entire complaint function. As it sits across the end-to-end complaint process, QA is perfectly placed to continually scan the horizon for improvements. This could be identifying best practice that is then rolled-out to the rest of the team, or pinpointing where manual tasks can and should be automated. As well, the increased efficiency that a good QA program can deliver frees-up the team to focus on exploring further areas for improvement.

How to Improve QA

The key to improving complaints quality assurance is to look at it in a new light, something which more complaints teams seem to be doing. No longer just a retrospective tool, QA is increasingly being used for real-time checking. If comprehensive QA checking can be carried out before a customer receives an outcome, there’s a greater chance that the outcome will be good. It’s this shift towards preventative QA, that’s leading more businesses to reassess just how they carry out their QA—realizing that current processes simply aren’t efficient or comprehensive enough to deliver the insight needed in the necessary time frames.

Where many businesses find themselves lacking when it comes to QA is with the systems they use. Many organizations make use of a generic QA tool, one which is perhaps relevant to other areas of the business, but one which definitely isn’t designed for the highly nuanced and often complex complaint process. What these generic tools can offer is a sometimes cursory QA review of complaints, with the actual QA team itself set apart from complaints. If there’s no QA solution in place, some businesses use Excel, a time-consuming and manually-intensive approach which really doesn’t have the accuracy or ability to enable complex QA checks, never mind a comprehensive, real-time preventative QA program.

What to Look For in a QA Solution

To achieve effective QA, firms need an effective QA solution in place—one which is in-line and integral to the complaints function. A purpose-built complaints management solution enables complaint teams to be in charge of their complaints quality assurance, monitoring the factors that matter the most with a view to optimizing the entire complaints function.

Such a solution should be able to deal with high case volumes as well as giving users the ability to make changes live. Also, for that all-important insight into employee performance and other complaint metrics, it should provide real-time management information through accessible, interactive dashboards and reports.

Aptean Respond’s Quality Accelerator can deliver all this and more. Sitting at the heart of a business’s complaint handling function, help complaints teams boost their QA capabilities while underpinning continuous improvements not just for employees but for the entire complaints team and wider business too.

As complaint volumes and complexity increase at the same time as regulatory requirements tighten, more businesses are turning to Aptean Respond for help—supporting a real-time, preventative approach to QA that’s proving to be the new best practice.

For more information on Aptean Respond’s Quality Accelerator tool, get in touch with our team of QA experts today.

Achieving Customer Service Excellence with Aptean Respond

In this eBook, you will learn about the success organizations like yours have had when using Aptean Respond for their complaint and case management.

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