Our winning value: Taking responsibility
All businesses and organisations have some level of responsibility for their customers. Whether it’s a responsibility for hygiene in a bustling cafe or making life or death decisions in a hospital, we form agreements; we will look after you.
In some businesses, such as the advice and lending processes, that responsibility is both for the satisfaction of the customer - maybe a happy first-time buyer who has completed in time to put up their Christmas tree in their new home - and to provide the right advice, the right product and a good customer experience.
And so, our next winning value is ‘taking responsibility’. Not just for the happiness or satisfaction of our brokers and their customers, but for the many facets of the advice and lending processes. Winners in the Financial Reporter Awards will embody this value, having ensured their service meets, or exceeds, these responsibilities, while successfully adapting during a turbulent year.
Who’s been a winner in the last 12 months?
It’s hard to choose just one size, type or genre of business that has stepped up its service and taken responsibility for its own community, large or small, in the past 12 months. In fact, the pandemic has shown how incredibly efficiently businesses can adapt to the changing needs of their customers.
Supermarkets redesigned layouts and provided priority delivery slots for vulnerable shoppers practically overnight. Small businesses who made accessories went from making hair scrunchies to face masks. Established distillers from locally-sourced gin switched to sanitising gel - both ingenious and caring, but not as nice with tonic! Businesses and organisations were forced to find new ways to fulfil their responsibility to the people around them and no more so than schools.
Educators of the country, with little warning and no previous experience, swiftly adapted to an entirely new way of working and engaging with the country’s young people. Video classes, hurriedly-printed worksheets delivered by teachers themselves to students’ homes, maintaining the emotional connection and safeguarding responsibilities of the role; all had to be done to support the nation’s children (and their equally ’in at the deep end’ parents) through long lockdown periods.
It was, for the most part, a triumph of true dedication to their work and to their students and to keeping a small fraction of normality in very uncertain times.
Of course, the same could be said for the advice community. From working face-to-face with their customers on sensitive topics such as finances, illness and death to grainy video calls, advisers rose magnificently to the challenge of helping guide the country through these most important decisions without being there in person. Mortgages still completed, critical illness claims were still made and families were still able to put protection in place should the worst, which many were seeing with their own eyes, happen. Set against a backdrop of modern technology, that may not seem like a feat, but it required real passion for the role and a real understanding of the advisers’ responsibility to their customers.
Taking responsibility has never been quite so important. And when consumers (or students, or the local community) needed it the most, very many businesses and organisations stepped up to the mark – all of whom are winners.
So how did HSBC UK take responsibility during the last year?
HSBC UK remained dedicated to providing value for money products, with the key driver for broker advocacy being the ongoing investment in speed of service and propositional enhancements. This was supported by our strong and meaningful relationships with all the brokers who distributed our products, with thanks to our dedicated BDMs who provided ongoing support.
We introduced a number of temporary income policy changes for both employed and self-employed customers to enable us to continue to lend responsibly and reduce the risk the pandemic was having on customers’ income. By closely monitoring the market and the Government’s ongoing announcements, we were able to remove a number of the temporary lending restrictions that had previously been put in place.
HSBC UK maintained a full range of products at higher LTVs for as long as we could, whilst also keeping a tight control over our service levels, helping as many customers as possible onto or up the property ladder. We were also able to progress many of those cases to offer, even in full lockdown.
As a responsible provider, HSBC UK continually looks at business continuity and contingency plans to ensure we can continue to operate, even if the unexpected does happen, whether it is a fire, flood, terrorist attack or in this case, a global pandemic.
The pandemic has tested everyone’s resolve, but HSBC UK has made some very pragmatic decisions to make submitting business with HSBC UK as easy as possible.
If you’d like to see which businesses are finalists in the 2021 Financial Reporter Awards, please go to: www.financialreporterawards.co.uk.