Banks amongst worst providers for service
Banks and building societies are amongst the worst service providers according to a new survey.
Moneysupermarket.com 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 moneysupermarket.com, 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.
The Financial Services Authority is an independent non-governmental body, given a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers in order to meet its four statutory objectives: market confidence (maintaining confidence in the UK financial system), financial stability, consumer protection and the reduction of financial crime. The FSA receives no government funding and is funded entirely by the firms it regulates, but is accountable to the Treasury and, ultimately, parliament.
Everything you own: all your assets (property, cars, investments, savings, insurance payouts, artwork, furniture etc) minus any liabilities (debts, current bills, payments still owed on assets like cars and houses, credit card balances and other outstanding loans). When you’re alive this is called your wealth; when you’re dead, it becomes your estate.
An account opened with a clearing bank (few building societies offer current accounts) that provides the ability to draw cash (usually via a debit card) or cheques from the account. Some pay fairly minimal rates of interest if the account is in credit. Most current accounts insist your monthly income (salary or pension) is paid directly in each month and they offer a number of optional services – such as overdrafts and charge cards – which are negotiable but will incur fees.