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HSBC scraps sales incentives for branch staff

by Alex Steger on Feb 21, 2013 at 07:47

HSBC scraps sales incentives for branch staff

HSBC has joined Barclays and the Co-operative bank by scrapping sales-based invectives for its branch staff with performance instead being measured by customer satisfaction.

The Co-op and Barclays stopped paying branch staff by commission last year.

HSBC said it made the changes, which affect 20,000 staff, at the start of the year.

In September 2012 Martin Wheatley, Financial Services Authority managing director, warned banks to stop treating customers as people to sell to, and unveiled the findings of his review into bank incentive schemes.

9 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Yaya Toure's wallet

Feb 21, 2013 at 08:45

I just wish more would scrap those sales-based invectives too!!!

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Feb 21, 2013 at 09:22

Does that mean the incentive to keep your own job if you don't sell 3 x investment bonds per day has been removed?

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R Sanchez

Feb 21, 2013 at 09:56

This behaviour (sales) will remain in our retail banking system for many years to come yet. The local and area managers got where they are by selling lots, and then subsequently managing sellers to sell lots. The culture of the banks cannot change overnight.

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David Phan

Feb 21, 2013 at 10:11

What this means is bonuses directly linked to sales no longer exist but will be paid discretionary bonuses. It will of course still be target driven and performance against target will determine bonus with good customer satisfaction scores will enhance bonuses. So not much change.

At the end of the day a bank is a business just like any other retailer. It buys money (from savers, money markets etc) and then sells money (mortgages, loans, credit cards etc) no different to if you go in a shop to buy a phone contract, car, sofa etc, you go in and ask for advice. Staff will always be rewarded on sales.

Mis-selling comes from lack of training with interviewing skills, asking the right questions and really understanding what your customer wants and needs.

However factoring in customer satisfaction scores is a good thing as customer who may not be credit worthy for certain products will be treated with a bit more respect and hopefully complaints will be dealt with more empathy and compassion.

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Usually found sitting on the fence

Feb 21, 2013 at 10:32

While this is a step in the right direction, you may cynically consider that staff will now bend to breaking point the rules that prohibit them from keeping a customer satisfied. This could in the end lead to more troubles in the future where customers are encouraged to complain as the bank was more interested in their satisfaction than their actual needs... Then there follows the annoying claims company ads on TV, "Been left satisfied by your bank? Feeling like they've been too helpful and not too honest. We're here to help you get back your misery, shame and frustration when you next pop into the local branch!!"... and so on and so on and so on.

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Mr B-Mused

Feb 21, 2013 at 11:12

I remember when one of the said banks changed to bonuses linked to customer satifaction. The satisfaction was determined by the bank employees ability to improve the customers finances. This was demonstarted by the implementation of a new plan. Guess what, a sale! There is nothing wrong for paying people for selling things - all self employed people get paid for this as do Solicitors, Accountants... they sell their time and the more they sale, the more they earn. The key point is to have the necessary safeguards in place and it is this that the banks struggle with. 'Sales Managers' should not be policing their sales people, indpendant auditors/compliance officers should be.

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Feb 21, 2013 at 11:28

So what targets are they given on their customer satisfaction scores? I guess this means more unwanted phone calls following a visit to the branch wanting me to rate their performance on waiting, was I greeted politely, did the counter staff use my surname and did I acomplish my goals when going to the branch? You can bet your bottom dollar that they dont ask people who had a loan request turned down, or someone who went there at lunchtime when there was a long queue.

Counter staff in nearly every branch I have ever visited are normally polite and competant, however there always seems to be someone working at a desk behind the counter, studiously avoiding eye contact with customers when queues are long and counter positions are empty. The person in front of me often had an innappropriate sales pitch rammed down their throat when all I wanted was to pay in without fuss as I was parked on the inevitable yellow line outside. Perhaps this behaviour may be reduced.

However I have no doubt that the staff will be so engrossed in recording customer satisfaction surveys that the day to day banking service will suffer.

I feel sorry for the ordinary branch staff. Pushed in every direction over the years. Branch management reduced to ill trained low paid persons with little discression or proper management skills. Middle management so aggressive towards staff that fail to achieve targets that they think 'managing out' is a legitimate way of managing, rather than spending money on training and proper job evaluation.

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Ex HSBC Adviser via mobile

Feb 21, 2013 at 19:46

HSBC Advisers will receive a twice yearly bonus which is 100% discretionary this year. There are a raft of measures included in their contracts which include mainly sales quality, customer satisfaction surveys and activity levels. The latter is the measure that sales management have the greatest ability to lever and apply pressure. The range of product providers offered under what was an independent service last year have mostly been removed to now only include those manufactured by HSBC and show mediocre performance/value at best.

At the start of the year, advisers were targeted to see 15 appointments a week with regular "contact days" arranged to make sure bank staff colleagues and advisers rule out their diary in order to spend all day on the phone with high pressure management tactics to put them under the spotlight if they dont book their quota. Consequently, advisers have full diaries but full with customers that either don't turn up or, if they do, don't understand why they have been a called in. Surprise, surprise, business volumes have disappeared off a cliff and so senior management have just increased the activity target to 17 appointments a week.

Keep throwing that mud at wall, if enough isn't sticking, page 2 of the idiots guide to running a bancassurer says throw even more...

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Another ex Hsbc adviser via mobile

Feb 24, 2013 at 08:46

Completely agree. HSBC has always believed in quantity- certainly for the 20yrs I was an adviser there. I reckon now their world selection portfolios will take over their investment offering, possibly via decision trees, for investments up to 150k. For the majority, this will rule out being hit for investment advice at the service till. That's my opinion anyway.

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