Why good service is so important in financial providers

Moira O'Neill's picture

Last night we presented the award for Britain’s Most Trusted Financial Provider to Metro Bank, as the culmination of our Customer Service Awards 2016. 

But what do we mean by ‘trust’? I think it boils down to this. Where trust is high, we’re confident that a financial firm will do as it promised; where trust is low, we’re concerned that it will not.

Bad customer service—when you’re not at its mercy—can be very funny. And two great actors who sadly passed away earlier this year gave us the best examples of this. Ronnie Corbett’s brilliant double act with Ronnie Barker gave us the classic Four Candles sketch. And you may also remember Alan Rickman in the film Love Actually, trying to buy a gift for his mistress while out shopping with his wife. Time is of the essence but the clerk insists on elaborately gift-wrapping the necklace.

In both sketches the shopkeeper assumes he knows what the customer meant but there is a communication mismatch, which leads to anger and frustration.

Good customer service doesn’t have nearly so much comic potential.  But we see time and again that clear communication leads to increased trust.  And trust is particularly important because in the UK, financial knowledge is nowhere near the level it should be. Many people don’t know how to manage debt or make the mistake of not saving enough money for their future.

This year there are plenty of new issues for consumers to deal with.

Final salary pensions are no longer certain, highlighted by the BHS pension scheme coming under threat. The state pension age is increasing.

Savings rates remain at rock bottom. But anyone prudently investing in the hope of better returns is facing potential massive stock market turmoil depending on the results of the EU Referendum and the US elections.

As we have done for more than 25 years, Moneywise continues to have a key role to play in highlighting how to take control of our finances and how to grow our wealth. Our Customer Service Awards are critical to that. You can view all the winners here.

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