• A leading retail bank engaged us to raise the quality of its complaint handling relating to products and services sold via telephone, the internet and postal channels. This was after the regulator publicly showed concern about the varying standards of quality assurance regarding complaint handling in financial services firms.
  • We were given a time frame of three months to train financial services professionals, process complaints to deliver fair outcomes and implement a sustainable quality assurance process.
  • We were also required to create a system which could stand alone and continue to develop without our support or the regulator’s intervention after our three month engagement ended.
  • The bank needed to adopt a new culture of quality assurance which we would strategically design, implement and nurture. This long term goal would ensure future success, avoidance of the regulator’s intervention, and build trust between the bank and the consumer.
  • The key element of the challenge was that our client moved away from checking that a procedure had been carried out, to reviewing and challenging each procedure’s ability to produce fair outcomes for customers; to fairly dismiss or uphold each complaint.


  • Working with our client, we created a unique seven-layer quality assurance programme. This enabled quality assurance to be the driving force for fair outcomes. The seven areas included:
    1. Strategy – This was implemented by our client in order to measure whether they were promoting the right behaviours systematically
    2. Policy – Testing current policy to ensure the right principles and outcomes were driving action from the outset
    3. Interpretation - Ensuring words, policy and strategy were understood and interpreted unanimously to ensure consistency and quality of outcome
    4. Classification - Checking all inputs were correctly defined and identified
    5. Preparation - Ensuring information was prepared in a standardised manner
    6. Review - Identifying that reviews undertaken were appropriate to the concerns raised
    7. Outcome - Ensuring fair customer outcomes were being delivered as the key driver for QA
  • In the seven areas, all action by the bank could be tested, and, crucially, measured according to these terms. The meaning and measure in each layer was agreed between the parties at the outset. Therefore consistency, reviewable and justifiable findings were evident in each of the areas.
  • The programme was completed in three four week cycles. Each cycle trained, assessed and responded quickly to practical issues arising. By repeating the process, it could be adapted and changes implemented accordingly in the following cycle.


  • We successfully created, implemented and managed a dynamic system of review, change and improvement.
  • We handed over the operation of the programme in full confidence.
  • Each complaint was dealt with effectively and fairly without need for correction. Customers had confidence that the outcome of their case was final and a monetary award would be made only where fair.