Issues affecting our customers
For us, responsible lending is about developing and delivering products that meet the needs of our customers.
Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction
In 2016, 93% of home credit customers say they are satisfied with the Provident home credit service (2015: 93%) with the vast majority saying they would recommend Provident to a friend. Customer satisfaction at Vanquis Bank and Satsuma Loans is 89% (2015: 88%).
Dealing with customer complaints
Ensuring that we keep customer complaints to an absolute minimum is another key indicator of whether we are delivering against our Social Purpose. Understanding the reasons which have led to complaints enables us to target improvement areas for the services we offer. Well-established complaint-handling processes, procedures and timescales are in place across the group to guide our customer relations teams and help them resolve issues in a professional and timely way.
We provide the contact details of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to all our customers, providing them with reassurance that if we are not able to resolve their complaint to their complete satisfaction, they can refer it to the FOS. During 2016, the total number of cases received by the FOS from customers of our operating businesses was 1,194. Of these, 327, or 27% (2015: 23%), referred to the FOS were upheld in favour of the customer.
Supporting vulnerable customers
All of our contact centre teams receive initial and ongoing training to help recognise and deal with potentially vulnerable customers. They use a technique developed by the Money Advice Trust and the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Thank, Explain, eXplicit consent, Ask, Signpost (TEXAS) – as a template for calls.
Specialist members of our teams are able to offer a range of forbearance options to help vulnerable customers, dependent upon their situation and needs. This may include offering breathing space, and short-term or long-term payment plans with interest and charges reduced or frozen. In some serious cases, a decision may be taken that the debt will be written off.
We also use external expertise, including through our partnerships with Macmillan, Shelter, Samaritans and StepChange, as well as guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority and the BBA’s Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce, which brings together the financial services industry, together with charities and consumer groups, to work to improve the outcomes for customers in vulnerable circumstances. All calls are recorded and monitored, and monthly case studies are discussed in detail with senior management.