When A Process Is Broke, Then It’s Definitely Time To Fix It

Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence

Sarah has spent over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including over 16 years working at the Financial Ombudsman Service. Sarah specialises in customer service and complaints handling, with extensive experience of management and mediating complaints and is dedicated to passing on her knowledge and experience to businesses to improve complaints handling, customer service and consumers’ perceptions of the industry.

As I bring this series of guest blog posts for Worksmart to a close, I wanted to use this last one to focus on process. It might seem odd, when the other blogs have focused on bigger themes when ‘horizon scanning’, but for me it seems apt to do this.

Really, it all comes down to this. We can all horizon scan, we can all ponder what we have coming our way in 2021 and beyond, but if we have a process that looks fantastic on paper, but simply isn’t working effectively, then there’s no point looking beyond that process.

The plain, and perhaps blunt, truth is that if your process does enough, but is actually a pain to work with, then it’s always going to take more effort to keep it ticking over. Consequently, the effort that could go into making improvements will be spent trying to hold a creaking process together. A predicament no-one wants to have to get swamped by, not one I see all too often.

How do you bypass this and get into the mindset to sort this out then? Well, let me ask you two questions to get you thinking the way I would go about addressing things (if asked for my help!)

  • Have you ever walked through your process from start to finish? No? How do you know what your customers experience if you haven’t walked in their shoes?

It can be a real revelation going through your process from start to finish to see where the issues are. And it can be simple things that you wouldn’t have thought of, such as realising that your team are all over social media, but when it comes to conventional post, there’s a slower turnaround time, (yes, that’s an example I have seen on more than one occasion!)

  • How do you use your Root Cause Analysis? Have you ever used it to solve an issue?

We all know there are certain things you need to document for the regulator, but Root Cause Analysis should also form part of your internal reporting systems. This will provide a full picture in terms of what happened and why. Additionally, it will also prevent duplication in the data, blurring the picture and making data less useful and precise.

It also means different departments, with different functions can use the data, making it useful across your organisation, rather than just your complaints function.

Angry Woman - Complaints Worksmart

These are just two examples of things that you can do to help you recognise issues with your process. Of course, there are many more, and some of them will be individual to your business and processes, but many of them will mean taking a long hard look at what is working and what isn’t.

That can be sharpening up on aspects of your complaint process, such as letter writing or walking away from the old spreadsheet to calculate your distress and inconvenience. It could also be looking at embracing more technology to keep on top of your reporting and individual complaints.

Whatever it is that you need, it will make sure you’re bringing your complaints process into the 2020s, at a pace you’ve likely never experienced before. And that can only be a good thing!

Process Improvement - Complaints


RegTech is a relatively new word but one that is key to the long-term success of managing compliance issues, complaints included, in the future. Regtech is the collective name, used by the FCA, to describe software solutions that manage compliance related processes more effectively, so increasing the probability of firms’ complying with the regulation, and at a lower cost.

Worksmart has picked up the ACQ ‘Complaints Management Solutions Provider of the Year’ award for the last two years for their complaints and feedback management system, Caresmart.

Three key features available in the Worksmart complaints solution, Caresmart, enable firms to improve the effectiveness of your complaints processes, specifically:

  • Caresmart automates many of the manual tasks necessary throughout the complaint handling, saving time, cost and improving consistency.
  • Caresmart ensures users’ capture the right information at the right stage of the process to facilitate Root Cause Analysis and subsequent organisational learning to prevent the same mistakes being repeated.
  • Caresmart contains management information that’s available in different ways for the different stakeholders in the complaint management process, including producing the 6 monthly regulatory return at the touch of a button.

If you would like to know more about how Caresmart could help transform your complaints processes, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team on: 01908 613613 or email us on:



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