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Customers more satisfied than ever with banks and building societies PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Customers of Britain’s banks and building societies are the most satisfied they have ever been, according to the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).  Figures published today by the Institute of Customer Service also suggest that the UK’s financial houses represent the only sector to witness consistently improving levels of customer satisfaction since 2012.

At a time when other sectors analysed by the UKCSI show flat-lining or decreasing levels of customer satisfaction, the UK’s banks and building societies are the only sector whose satisfaction ratings are higher today (78.6 out of 100), than they were in July 2012 (78.1). The sector’s latest score is also comfortably above the national average (76.2), ensuring that it has climbed from 7th to 4th place out of 13 sectors examined.

The latest UKCSI reveals that just 9 percent of customers are currently experiencing problems with banks and building societies - well below the all-sector average of 13.2 percent. When a problem is registered, these organisations are also increasingly regarded, by customers, as performing well, ranking above average for satisfying customers when they make a complaint.

The sector also boasts the UK’s best performing organisation, first direct, which has displaced the likes of John Lewis and Amazon to top the UKCSI charts for the first time, with a score of 87. Yorkshire Bank and Nationwide are other notable performers, representing the sector in the top 20 of all UK companies.

Only the beginning of a journey
While banks and building societies are showing signs that customer satisfaction is improving, there is still room for progress. The only area in which the sector falls below the national average is the online checkout process it offers customers. Given that almost a third of customers said their last interactions with these organisations were via a website (almost 10 percent higher than the all-sector average) it is critical that this issue is addressed.

“As mobile and online banking increasingly becomes a convenient option, organisations must ensure that customer service online reaches the same standard as the more traditional methods, such as ‘across the counter’ over the phone,” says Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service.

“Now that customers can switch bank accounts within seven days, they are more aware of the options and more likely to consider changing. There is no longer apathy brought about by uncertainty meaning that strong customer service is now a key competitive advantage in the marketplace. In what is becoming a relationship driven economy, if customers are not happy they will vote with their feet and move to the competition.”

Further evidence that the banks must continue striving to improve customer service is that the sector only comes in at number 6 for customer loyalty. Consistent improvements are needed for loyalty to rise and businesses to hold onto customers. Since new account switching regulation has been put in place, there has been a 4 percent increase in customers switching banks across the UK, making the relationship between banks and their customers a more pressing issue.

“Quite simply, customer service needs to be a key strategic focus at the top level of organisations within the banking and building societies sector. Those businesses that do not recognise this will see their customers switch to their competitors and lose market share,” added Causon.

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