As "Poacher turned Gamekeeper" I would not put myself in the same house as Hector, but I was recently offered the rare treat (these days) of a day out of the office to visit a client of long standing, the opportunity presenting itself as a number of customer service related queries had arisen.
In the name of researching fair treatment as opposed to merely customer satisfaction, I leapt at the chance to again expose myself at the sharp end. The meeting got off to a very relaxed start, the client asking about my trip, and upon gleaning not only had I taken a car, two trains and a ferry to get there, had also successfully navigated the labyrinthine back streets of his quaint Cornish fishing village from the harbour to find him, he asked, decidedly tongue in cheek "were you in the SAS?" to which I looked over my pieceps and responded "... but of late I've let myself go".
The glaringly obvious points that were made (definitely not scored) forced a continuing diet of self-deprecation, yet it became abundantly clear that this satisfied customer had so much to offer our business by way of feedback, particularly around the clarity of our communications.
Realistically, it would be impractical and commercially inviable to offer such a compliance review service to the thousands of customers we serve. However, some of the general points made led me to realise just how far from communicating our recommendations we can stray in what we feel is in the interests of satisfying the requirements of our regulator, rather than to invest time in satisfying our clients.
If we are to beware, in discharging our responsibility under Principle 6, not to confuse TCF with customer satisfaction, why place so much emphasis on “customer experience”? Our client was not dissatisfied, nor being unfairly treated. Yet feedback on his experience was such a valuable insight into how we need to be mindful of Principle 7, charging us with the responsibility for fair, clear and not misleading communications, which seen through the eyes of the consumer takes on a clarity perhaps not appreciated before.
With the December TCF deadline looming, there have been occasions over the past three years where we have all felt an affinity with that better known Number 6, The Prisoner. A confusing, inconsistent, nebulous tale, our subject struggling to make himself understood in the face of a parade of No.2s, and an increasingly perplexed audience. The main similarity with The Prisoner, I fear, is the unsatisfactory lack of closure that will be felt at the end, tempered with a schadenfreude that the series is over.
Appealing to the baby-boom demographic, I read with interest that they are remaking The Prisoner, with Jim Caviezel (Passion of the Christ) in the role of No.6. But as a victim of fashion in the dynamic, fast-moving world of regulation, is Principle 7 the new Principle 6 I wonder...
Mark Lisle is compliance manager at Rowanmoor Pensions
The views expressed in this blog are the individual's own.
New ratings system for younger funds
Clients to be compensated by end of 2018
Rolled out to 25 schemes next month
Mean gender pay gap now 16.64%
26 years in financial services