FOS figures paint an inaccurate picture warns complaints boss.

Tue 4th March 2014

New complaint figures released by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which show that the service took on 575,836 new cases in 2013, the highest in its history, have been criticised as misleading. 

Paul Clark, CEO of Charter UK, says that whilst much of the attention paid to the complaints data has been around the "record year" of complaints, the fact that in the last six months complaints to the FOS have fallen dramatically has been completely ignored. 

"In the first half of 2013 PPI complaints, which accounted for three quarters of the total figure, were still high with the FOS processing 12,000 PPI complaints a week, but PPI has peaked – this figure fell to less than 7,000 a week in the second half of the year," he says. 

"Further still, the progress banks are making to resolve business-as-usual complaints, which are often highly-complex and scattered across hundreds of banking products, processes and systems is evident. 

Mr Clark cites the fact that complaints about financial products other than PPI fell in 2013 as clear evidence of the progress that some banks are making to leverage complaints for customer centricity. 

"Complaints can be the foundation from which to start a conversation with customers and to understand the cause of their missed expectations," he says. "This is the key for financial firms wishing to begin a programme of continuous improvement, pinpointing the flaws that are undermining the customer experience and the bank's internal systems and processes. 

"For banks that have large, complicated infrastructures, the value of the information readily available from the customer base is easy to underestimate. Successfully capturing that information, however, will enable firms to find and fix internal issues very quickly, resulting in lower costs and greater customer loyalty."