This was often because further information became available during the review

This was often because further information became

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to ensure a fair outcome was delivered. This was often because further information became available during the review process. In addition, Adrian provides feedback to help Westpac improve its policies and processes, including those relating to how it deals with complaints. Offering an independent view Independence is fundamental to the role of Customer Advocate and while Adrian is employed by Westpac, his role is structured to support this. “I don’t report to any business unit, but rather to the Group Executive responsible for human resources. That said, I meet regularly with Westpac’s CEO and Chairman, the agendas are always open and they usually start by asking me what I am seeing and how they can help,” says Adrian. “My remuneration is fixed and I’m not entitled to any short-term incentives. And most importantly, I have no hesitation in putting noses out of joint when putting things right for customers.” As part of his role as Customer Advocate, Adrian also acts as mediator between the Group and customers in a range of disputes across the Group, provides support to customers experiencing vulnerability and liaises with external stakeholders such as consumer and small business groups and the Ombudsmen to receive feedback on what Westpac can do better. “Working with my team is the greatest aspect of my role. Each member brings a particular skill and perspective. And they have been through life experiences that help them approach matters with suitable robustness and also great empathy,” says Adrian. Against the background of the Royal Commission this year, customer complaints into Adrian’s team have increased fourfold and range from issues involving responsible lending, elder and domestic financial abuse to incomplete wealth advice. “Since the Royal Commission commenced, customer confidence in putting complaints to Westpac has increased, which is a very good thing because we get to fix what has gone wrong and put in place changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. At the same time, because of all that is happening in the external environment, we’re seeing a lot of frustration directed towards the bank and that can be challenging.” Changing for the better “Over the last two years I have seen a genuine openness and commitment to change within the bank,” says Adrian. “Westpac employees are passionate about customers and the Group is making changes which demonstrate a real shift in the way complaints are approached and managed. There’s still work to do, but by listening more closely and understanding customers and their circumstances more fully, the Group is better placed to get it right in the first instance.”Westpac Customer Advocate, Adrian Ahern26The fundamentalsPerformance metricsOther information2020 Sustainability StrategyChairman & CEO’s message2018 Sustainability Performance ReportThe issues that matterOverviewService leadershipDigital innovationWorkforce of the futurePositive societal impactValue chain riskGovernance, conduct and trust<<
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