Head of Customer Operations

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Job Description We’d all like amazing work to do, and real work-life balance. That’s waiting for you at Sainsbury’s Bank. “Bank by name, Sainsbury’s by nature” is the promise line we stand firmly behind, making...

Job Description

We’d all like amazing work to do, and real work-life balance. That’s waiting for you at Sainsbury’s Bank. “Bank by name, Sainsbury’s by nature” is the promise line we stand firmly behind, making sure we follow through on this by always offering value, making it easy and being an ally for our customers. We’re proud to be an equal opportunities employer that champions a diverse and inclusive culture that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. Because we know it’s by working together, and by bringing new, diverse ideas that creates the best experience for our customers and colleagues. As part of the wider Sainsbury’s Group, being one of the UK’s most trusted brands, it brings our colleagues a wealth of opportunities to fulfil their potential. Here, you can be part of something bigger and help to create a new approach that puts the customer at the heart of everything we do.


This role is a 2 year Fixed Term Contract and can be based out of Edinburgh or Widnes, the role will involve travel to each of these locations.


In a nutshell

Part of the Senior Management team reporting into the Director of Operations, the main responsibility is to successfully lead the delivery and be accountable for the operational design and management and enhancement of SB and AFS (SBAFS) Customer Service Centres, including Contact Centres, Outsourced operations with third parties for Contact centres,  AFS Underwriting & Financial Crime Ops functions, delivering exceptional customer service across key customer touchpoints in line with the Bank’s service strategy.


The role holder will be a highly motivated individual, capable of leading an operational team of 500 colleagues through a huge period of transition and change at SBAFS, demonstrating empathy and authenticity whilst delivering against the next phase of SBAFS strategy. 


 What you need to do


  • Lead a large group of people through a period of uncertainty, that may be ambiguous at times, motivating colleagues , delivering outcomes, all whilst maintaining service to customers
  • Drive delivery of the Customer Service strategy, ensuring it is aligned to the overall bank service strategy and risk appetite 
  • Agree and drive annual Service Delivery objectives aligned to Customer Service strategy
  • Effectively manage SBAFS Customer Service Centres, including Contact Centres, Outsourced operations,  AFS Underwriting & Financial Crime Ops functions, delivering consistent service levels whilst maintaining colleague engagement and customer satisfaction 
  • Manage third party providers for the provision of services to SBAFS
  • Lead pay negotiations and consultations as part of interactions Unionised populations 
  • Lead the team to drive best in class service delivery across all stages of the customer journey.  
  • In collaboration with the Business delivery the re-focused strategy as it unfolds, leading through changes as this impacts SB and AFS colleagues. 
  • Accountable for the SB and AFS Customer Service Centres, also responsible for ensuring they have appropriate resource to deliver to forecast demand whilst maximising efficiency
  • Accountable for managing AFS Underwriting and Financial Crime Ops processes in line with Conduct/ Regulatory risk standards and within Operations risk appetite 
  • Operate within the Operations Risk and Control framework, effectively monitoring key risks, escalating issues, and identifying common trends
  • Drive fair outcomes for the customer, embedding these principles in all SBAFS Operations processes and procedures. Prompt action taken to mitigate issues identified through PRCA and outcome testing measures
  • Ownership of first line operational risks and controls in SB and AFS Customer Service Centres
  • Develop strong strategic and operational relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, to achieve business objectives 
  • Execute agreed operational contingency and resilience plans effectively, ensuring key customer activities are maintained and colleague’s safety and security understood and protected.
  • Understand the voice of the customer identifying opportunities for improvement
  • Consistently role model and live the Valued Behaviours 
  • Ensure a strong succession and talent pipeline is developed and sustained across all parts of the team, ensuring that this is aligned with our organisational inclusion ambition
  • Provide strong visible leadership across the Bank to help deliver a positive open and inclusive culture where colleagues can reach their potential
  • Effectively manage and develop the performance, talent and future capability of the team and ensure there is strong performance culture throughout


What you need to know and show

To operate at the specified level of seniority and fulfil expectations across the full range of technical areas, the position holder will need a holistic understanding of the environment in which the Bank operates (economic, banking industry, regulatory, and organisational). The candidate must be able to challenge colleagues in a collaborative and constructive manner, have the courage to pose questions to ensure the right, fact-based decisions are always made, and be able to represent/understand the perspective of all internal and external stakeholders. They must also be able to lead significant change against a back drop of ambiguity taking a large organisation on a journey with thoughtfulness, care and compassion. 


  • Extensive expert knowledge of the workings of a high performing Customer Service, Fraud & Underwriting operation & dealing with third party providers
  • Experience of taking personal ownership for delivery of challenging targets
  • Excellent communication skills – both verbal & written
  • Previous working experience leading operations in a regulated environment
  • Previous experience of managing contracts and suppliers in a service environment 
  • Experience at a senior level of operational management of Contact Centres
  • Evidence of a high level of strategic thinking and planning
  • Strong relationship & stakeholder management skills
  • Strong influencing, negotiating & networking skills – experience of building relationships with third parties and parents, to influence beyond direct authority as part of outsourced business model
  • Excellent leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to think strategically but translate this into deliverable plans which supports the business outcomes
  • Prepared to challenge and to manage conflict, at senior levels internally and externally
  • A clear understanding of what customer excellence looks like and how to achieve it. Analytical & conceptual ability to understand customer attitudes and motivations, and to translate this into directional recommendations for business strategy
  • Looks for and implements different ways of doing things to overcome barriers/obstacles in order to get things done
  • Must have ability to remain calm under pressure and not lose sight of the goals
  • Able to work on own initiative and own decisions made
  • Able to take calculated risks, with evidence for approach taken
  • Be able to see the bigger picture and have solutions and different options
  • A confident individual who can inspire and engage people through effective leadership coaching and performance management 
  •  Reflects on experience and is able to use different data to inform approach
  • Expert understanding of the Fraud & Underwriting industry and what best practice looks like?
  • Creates an inclusive and collaborative environment where challenge and change are positive drivers 


  • Role model and embed Sainsbury’s valued behaviours of Own it, Make it Better and Be Human. We call them ‘valued behaviours’ as they’re focused on the actions we all need to take and to highlight that we’re each responsible for making a difference for our customers and colleagues. 
    • Own it - takes full accountability for issues through to resolution.   
    • Make it better - identifies opportunities to make the way we work simpler and looks for ways of improving service in the team. Encourages others to deliver results by making decisions and trying new approaches.   
    • Be human – Inspires and engages others at all levels - builds great working relationships with colleagues and shows care and respect to everyone. Ensures colleagues understand how what they do influences the customer.   


Senior Managers & Certification Regime

Under the SM&CR, this role has been assessed as a certified role and as such we need to satisfy all conditions as set out by our regulators (PRA and FCA). This means that we need to ensure you are fit and proper to carry out this role upon initial appointment and on an ongoing annual basis. The role holder must also comply with the conduct rules as specified by our regulators.






We are committed to being a truly inclusive retailer so you’ll be welcomed whoever you are and wherever you work. Around here, there’s always the chance to try something new — whether that’s as part of an evolving team or somewhere else across the business - and we take development seriously and promise to support you. We also recognise and celebrate colleagues when they go the extra mile and, where possible, offer flexible working. When you join our team, we’ll also offer you an amazing range of benefits. Here are some of them:

Starting off with colleague discount, you'll be able to save 10% on your shopping online and instore at Sainsbury's, Argos, TU and Habitat, and we regularly increase the discount to 15% at points during the year. We've also got you covered for your future with our pensions scheme and life cover. You'll also be able to share in our success as you may be eligible for a performance-related bonus of up to 65% of salary, depending on how we perform (in cash and shares).

Your wellbeing is important to us too. You'll receive an annual holiday allowance, and you can buy up to an additional week's holiday, and we provide private heathcare. We also offer other benefits that will help your money go further such as season ticket loans, cycle to work scheme, health cash plans, salary advance (where you can access some of your pay before pay day) as well access to a great range of discounts from hundreds of other retailers. You'll also receive a company car cash allowance unless you are going to travel 10,000 business miles in your role, then you'll be able to choose a car. And if you ever need it there is also an employee assistance programme.

Moments that matter are as important to us as they are to you which is why we give up to 26 weeks’ pay for maternity or adoption leave and up to 4 weeks’ pay for paternity leave.

Please see www.sainsburys.jobs for a range of our benefits (note, length of service and eligibiity criteria may apply).

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