Banks amongst worst providers for service

Banks and building societies are amongst the worst service providers according to a new survey. looked at the customer service levels of a number of industries regularly used by consumers. Estate agents were rated the worst for customer service followed by energy firms and banks. Hairdressers, hotels and beauty salons gave the best customer service.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at, said: "It is a shame to see financial service providers, like banks and building societies, fairing so poorly when it comes to service. While banks and building societies have taken a beating due to the economic downturn this isn't any excuse for poor service.

"Providing a top quality service to customers is something far too many providers fail to see the benefit of. Yet a reputation for bad service can be difficult to shake off, and many more consumers are feeling empowered enough to switch providers if they have a bad experience. The main problem stems from the fact that the industry has gone down the automated route and as a result has lost some personality. However to bring service back in play could see an increase in cost and indirectly consumers may suffer as a result of reduced rates.”

This year is set to see some new entrants in the banking sector such as Tesco Bank and Virgin Money, and this could prompt some of the more established brands to raise their game.

"The introduction of Metro Bank to the high street, a provider we expect to compete strongly on quality service, may force some of the old guard into a rethink,” said Mountford.

The survey results came out on the same day that the Royal Bank of Scotland revealed it gets more than 1,600 complaints a day. RBS and Natwest received 302,371 complaints between them in six months last year.

RBS is the first bank to publish data of customer complaints, something all banks will have to do from August this year under new FSA rules.

Each year Moneywise asks its readers which financial service providers can be trusted to offer both excellent customer service and good value for money and in 2009 the accolade for most trusted current account provider went to First Direct.

Check out which banks, and other financial services providers are in the running for the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2010.