The Technical Desk has become the Business Support Hub

Date published: 20 February 2023 Blog

Karl Khan

Chief Operating Officer

Karl is responsible for the Casework Operations function at the Financial Ombudsman Service which includes oversight of customer experience, quality and operational performance.

The Financial Ombudsman Service resolves disputes between financial businesses and consumers in a fair and reasonable manner. But did you know that we also help financial businesses settle issues with customers before a formal complaint reaches us?

As our Technical Desk relaunches – becoming the Business Support Hub – our new Chief Operating Officer, Karl Khan explains the reasons behind the rebrand and how the service can support your organisation.

Since our inception in 2001, our Technical Desk has been helping organisations resolve disputes.  

In the 12 months ending December 2022, we received more than 10,000 enquiries from over 1,400 different businesses. Their feedback – whether through surveys or anecdotal – confirms we’re making a difference. When we recently surveyed callers, all of them told us we’d given them the guidance that helped them resolve matters with their customer.

Since I joined the Financial Ombudsman just a few months ago, I’ve been so interested in this side of our work I wanted to help spread the word about it. And, although many businesses get in touch, we thought now would be a good time to remind the industry how we can help before cases reach us.

Becoming the Business Support Hub

With this in mind, we felt the name ‘Technical Desk’ needed a refresh.

Over the years, we’ve had calls about IT (which we can’t help with) and from consumers, who we refer to our Consumer Helpline. At a recent event, we were called the service’s ‘best kept secret’, so we decided it was time to take action.

We wanted a name that makes it clear who we are and what we do. We’re here to support:

  • financial businesses
  • professional representatives of consumers, such as complaint management companies, and
  • consumer adviser organisations, like National Debtline and Citizens Advice

The name ‘Business Support Hub’ reflects our role more accurately as we’re here to support organisations in a range of ways. 

How we support financial businesses

We can help with disputes about any regulated product or service, as well as general queries and emerging issues.

If you contact us about an issue raised by a customer, we’ll guide you on what you need to consider and, if appropriate, how to make things right. We might reach out to casework colleagues for guidance on new and evolving issues before giving you an answer.

Any guidance we give will only be based on what you tell us. We can’t foresee what the outcome might be if a consumer later asked the service to look into the matter.

Helping you support vulnerable customers

As the cost-of-living crisis bites, vulnerability – especially low financial resilience – is affecting an increasing number of consumers.

In our survey of callers, almost 93% of our users said they’d call us for guidance on handling complaints from vulnerable customers. Others didn’t know that we could help with that.

So, as part of our rebrand, we want to make the industry more aware that we can offer guidance about our approach to a wide range of circumstances, including supporting vulnerable customers with a complaint.

Different name, same great service

We may have changed our name, but our remit and commitment remain the same. We are still here to support you with queries. Among other things, our Operational Contact and Business Support Hub colleagues will continue to share insights – both at industry events and through our communications – on working with organisations to help settle complaints.

The guidance we give is free, confidential, informal and not binding.

So whether you need help finding a fair and reasonable solution to a tricky complaint – or just want a second opinion – the Business Support Hub can help. Please call or send us an email.