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Project Summary – Private Client Futures and Options Trading

 Project Situation

The company had been heavily criticised for its business practices including the Regulatory Authority covering Futures and Options Trading.  The company wished to clean up its act but keep existing profit levels.

Outputs required

  • Identification of the skills used by those of its sales force who were successful in terms of gaining business but who had lower levels of customer complaints
  • A reduction in the level of customer complaints from 37 per month
  • Recommendations about practical steps which would enable the sales force to combine the skills used by the top performers with those that helped avoid customer complaints.


  • Interviews with all members of the organization from CEO to the telesales team to investigate activities, processes, skills and views of customers.
  • Based on these interviews and tape recordings of sample calls to happy and unhappy customers, we developed a skills profile and live observation data gathered over the next month.
  • This process showed inconsistencies in technical knowledge.  We then investigated the induction training where flaws were identified.  The changes introduced improved the technical knowledge of new salespeople and the service they were able to offer customers.
  • During the project our results were compared with customer views from a market research project carried out independently.  This enabled us to explain the links between seller skills and customer views.

    The implementation phase included:

  •  Coaching practices to reinforce the basic skills training provided .
  • Modifying salary structures to deal with the problems identified.
  • Monitoring the impact of these changes.


Skill and knowledge inadequacies in the sales organisation were identified. The value of ensuring customers understood the business they were entering and not be ‘conned’ was demonstrated in two ways:

  • Lower complaints levels
  • Higher trading levels and hence more profit to the company
  • The negative impact of the pay system was highlighted
  • The inadequacy of new hire training was also highlighted
  • Corrective action was recommended and taken in all areas.

Since then…..

At the end of the project and over the following six months the company had retained its profit levels and the level of complaints had decreased to zero.