First Direct offers best customer service in the UK
First Direct is the financial service company that British consumers trust the most, Moneywise can reveal.
First Direct more than proved its customer service credentials by winning the overall 'Most Trusted Provider' accolade in the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2011.
It also took top spot in a further 11 categories and received four highly commended nods.
The awards come on the back of our customer service survey launched earlier this year, where we asked Moneywise readers to share their thoughts on the companies they trust the most and those they believe offer the best customer service. More than 12,000 people cast their votes.
Best of the rest
Aside from First Direct, other notable winners include NFU Mutual (which dominated the insurance categories, picking up six awards), Smile, Coventry building society and the Co-operative Bank.
The big banks were conspicuous by their absence at the awards, with building societies, online banks and even supermarkets sharing out the plaudits.
"Our survey shows that Brits no longer have any faith in the high street giants, with almost all the larger providers failing to make the shortlist," says Johanna Gornitzki, editor of Moneywise.
She adds: "While finding the lowest price or best rate is important, customers value great service too. Some providers have caught on to this – and as a result have done very well in our rewards.
"The question is now whether other providers will follow the likes of First Direct and invest as much time and energy in keeping their existing customers happy as they do in attracting new customers."
For details of all the winners and what consumers had to say about them, go to the customer services award section of our website.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.