First Direct offers best customer service in the UK

Men facing the sun

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.

Name and shame the companies you use and take part in our 2012 Consumer Opinion Survey here

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.

More about

Your Comments

I have been banking with First Direct for more than 16 years and I have found that the standard of service has depreciated substantially. Having made complaints twice regarding incorrect information being given to me about services by First Direct, having complained and receiving inconsistent responses back about the content of recorded conversations, I am losing confidence in the integrity of the this company. One person says its clear on the recording you were given incorrect information, another person says there is no evidence in the recording that you even asked the question. Amazingly poor service in the past two years. Also, failing to close accounts and pay interest on existing account.

It pains me to see First Direct win so many awards, because I was forced to stop banking with them after many happy years when they introduced a charge for current accounts with less than £1500 a month going in. Forced to go part time, I felt this was unjust. So I switched to Alliance & Leicester, which became Santander. You can guess the rest. How I wish I could come back to First Direct!

"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."

First Direct invest a lot of money in attracting new customers but offer appallingly low interest rates on their savings accounts. Compare with Lloyds TSB: 1% on their online savings account (plus 1.5% bonus in the first year) and a massive 4% on up to £7k in a current account (reducing late June 2011 to 3% on up to £5k). First Direct's telephone service is superb, but doesn't justify the measly interest rates: I've put my money where the interest is! I seldom use the telephone service anyway and LTSB's online service is entirely satisfactory, with one or two bells and whistles that First Direct don't have and minus one or two that First Direct do have.

I wasn't part of the survey, but I have been a very
happy first direct customer for years, you always get a skilled
Friendly advisor. Had some dealings with Santander recently too
And we will be parting company very soon.
The awards are very consistent with my experience.
Well done First Direct.

Likewise, we've banked with FD for many years, always been satisfied and have no plans to change any time soon. I can quite understand why they've bagged so many awards.

First Direct certainly deserve a pat on the back. Although I am unable to comment on their telephone service, I've never used it, I just cannot fault banking on line with them. Questions are answered usually next day and instructions are carried out to the letter. True what TJB wrote though, their interest rates on savings are miserly.