Transforming complaint interactions to build customer relationships that last
Making complaints management a mission
Customers want to feel heard, especially when things aren’t going well, or their needs aren’t being met. How an organisation captures and responds to feedback can make or break a customer relationship.
Elaine Kearns, Head of Complaints & Remediation at Permanent TSB, explains, “Under our CEO, Eamonn Crowley, Permanent TSB has a new purpose: we aim to build trust with our customers so that we become a community serving a community. A cornerstone of our business strategy is effective complaints management, since every complaint is a moment of truth that gives us the chance to listen to and learn from our customers.”
To avoid customer grievances slipping through the net or taking too long to be resolved, Permanent TSB set out to automate and streamline its complaints management system. The bank aimed to improve the quality and speed of communications, satisfying customers and regulatory requirements.
“We wanted to get to the root cause of why customers were getting in touch to enable the best possible resolution of each complaint. At the same time, we wanted to eliminate manual workloads and enhance reporting internally.”
Creating a 360-degree view of complaints
Following a public tender process, Permanent TSB opted to work with IBM Business Partner Insight 2 Value to transform its approach to complaints management. Insight 2 Value identified that the bank’s existing IBM Business Automation Workflow platform could easily be adapted to solve the complaints management challenge.
“Insight 2 Value are the ideal partner because they offer a high degree of flexibility,” remarks Kearns. “In this case, they saw that we already had powerful technology in place in the form of IBM Business Automation Workflow, which we had invested in originally to meet GDPR requirements.”
Using IBM Business Automation Workflow, Insight 2 Value helped Permanent TSB infuse their complaints process with artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced case management capabilities. Insight 2 Value started with a detailed analysis of the desired customer complaints journey. The team created a prototype solution and held show-and-tell sessions at the bank to demonstrate how the platform would work. Kearns recalls, “With help from Insight 2 Value, the project was very iterative with lots of quick wins, enabling us to get buy-in from stakeholders across the bank.”
With the new solution, Permanent TSB automated key elements of the complaints handling process. For example, it can now generate letters, send out notifications to department heads when a complaint arrives involving a particular department (or more than one), and request input from teams across the bank—all automatically. Working with Insight 2 Value, Permanent TSB set up a new escalation process that alerts teams when a query hasn’t been responded to in time, driving faster complaints resolution.
The new complaints management platform is fully integrated with Permanent TSB’s core banking system, drawing on data such as customer names and addresses and ensuring that full complaints information is saved to each customer’s record. The bank is using this comprehensive view of each complaint to analyse root causes.
“IBM Business Automation Workflow is very intuitive, allowing our complaints teams to capture every nuance of a query and ensure it’s directed to the right departments for resolution,” says Kearns. “Since a complaint is never without an owner, it now promptly gets the attention of the relevant manager(s). Insight 2 Value helped us to build a platform that sets us up for success.”
Putting the customer first
“Thanks to IBM and Insight 2 Value, we now understand our customers much better,” explains Kearns. “We’ve seen a drop in referrals to the FSPO [Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman of Ireland] of over 50 percent since we deployed the new system, indicating that we’ve improved customer satisfaction significantly. We’re applying insights from the new system to drive change and improvements for all our customers—not just the ones that submit complaints.”
Using IBM Business Automation Workflow to unite data, processes and users, Permanent TSB has also succeeded in simplifying reporting for both internal and external purposes. It is now easier to meet regulatory requirements around complaints management. Kearns adds, “We’ve gained a full audit trail for all complaints data that’s straightforward to access. We can provide our internal management teams and external committees with detailed reports. That leaves our complaint handlers free to focus on the most important part of their job: engaging with our customers until they’re happy.”
Since implementing the new system, Permanent TSB has already taken advantage of the technology’s flexibility to adapt it to emerging needs. Specifically, the bank engaged Insight 2 Value to add a new complaints class after the COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption.
Kearns concludes, “As proved by this project, IBM Business Automation Workflow has many exciting capabilities built-in that could provide value to Permanent TSB, making it a future-proof solution. We’re looking forward to working with Insight 2 Value to explore new applications of the technology to benefit our customers even more. With help from IBM and Insight 2 Value, we’re delivering customer experiences that truly set us apart from the competition.”