PBAs, like their Mortgage and Protection Adviser colleagues, are now recording all their interviews with customers. Line managers can review those recordings 45 minutes after the interview has been completed. Now, the Bank will argue that recording interviews protects staff from complaints from customers, protects the Bank and protects customers.  And whilst that can be correct, there is a sneaking suspicion that under the guise of protecting customers and staff, the real reason for recording interviews is so that the Bank can use the recordings as a forcing tool to ensure that PBAs and MAPAs are behaving like sales staff but without the need for salespoints and targets. Those staff become directly accountable for what they have done, or not done, in those interviews and that changes their behaviour. It is also the fact that recording interviews will force PBAs to discriminate between commercially profitable customers, who are going to produce ‘good’ recordings, and non-commercially profitable customers who could be sidelined in the push for increased sales. If the Bank wants to truly “Help Britain Prosper” then that means treating all customers equally and not treating some customers, the commercially profitable, more equally that others.

We accept that Line Managers are not going to be able to listen to all the interviews carried out by PBAs but they don’t need to; the fact that they can will be enough to ensure that staff exhibit the right behaviours. And that needs to be seen against the increasing use of pre and post interview choreography to get staff thinking about the commerciality of their interactions with customers. In morning ‘shouts’ or ‘huddles’ PBAs and MAPAs have to say how they are going to make their customers ‘better off’ and then at the end of the day they must explain what they did in their interviews. If there is a mismatch between the two, then Line Managers can listen to the interviews to see what was said.

In a recent email to BTU, a PBA said:

“For the last few months we have been talking a lot about mortgages … over the last month it has been rammed down everyone’s throats and nothing else matters.

I’m a PBA working in XXXXXXX and I have been told I have to fill in the customers living arrangements in on every pic pad – stating if they have mtge, where it is, what deal they are on (& I should refer to MAPA regardless of penalties – which my MAPA is worried about) and if no mortgage held, are they wanting to buy, have they got savings and have I suggested rtb!

I’m aware of my job role and it isn’t all about mtges (& I’m in an area where there are a large number of retirees), and it is starting to stress me out – the amount of ‘focus’ being put on it.

My CAs are having to confirm how many conversations and how many ‘what’s important to you’ forms they have done, per day, and I am then being asked to support them with word patterns if they aren’t having any luck!

We all appreciate it’s an important area to the bank but it feels like we are being targeted without being given referral numbers.

I have no doubt that this is happening in every branch in our area.”

Now Line Mangers will almost invariably do the right thing; what we’re concerned about is LDs who will use the recording of interviews to put pressure on LMs to increase their seller productivity. If PBAs or MAPAs come across any attempt by line management to use the recording of interviews to drive sales performance then they must contact the Union immediately on 01234 262868.


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