Customer Service Awards 2013 highlights: The winners

Published by Laura Whitcombe on 26 July 2013.
Last updated on 26 July 2013

Customer service

The Moneywise Customer Services Awards – based on the biggest survey of its kind in the UK with more than 20,000 readers sharing their views – exist to answer these very questions. Here are the highlights from this year's awards.

MOST TRUSTED FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDER IN BRITAIN

WINNER: YORKSHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY
HIGHLY COMMENDED: SMILE

This year, for the first time in five years – since the awards have taken place – the winner is Yorkshire Building Society (YBS).

Moneywise readers and survey respondents were full of praise for the building society, which is the second largest in the UK with 3.5 million members and assets of approximately £33 billion.

One very satisfied YBS customer told Moneywise: "It actually takes the time to understand and resolve my issues and requests fully and comprehensively. In short, it really does care. I also feel like a valued customer rather than someone who is just a profit opportunity."

MOST TRUSTED MAINSTREAM BANK

WINNER: NATWEST
HIGHLY COMMENDED: HSBC

Winning the hugely important award of Most Trusted Mainstream Bank is a company that has overcome its fair share of trials and tribulations – demonstrating exactly why good customer service can move mountains when it comes to retaining, as well as attracting, customers.

This year's winner, NatWest, shows that the big banks really can get it right. It has been quietly winning trust by showing customers it values them, even while its rivals have been growing in unpopularity.

In our survey, people told us that they thought NatWest had been innovative when launching new products and the bank received a lot of praise for its online banking facilities. They also told us that when NatWest had IT problems last year, it resolved the issues quickly and communicated effectively with customers throughout, ensuring no-one lost out as a result.

This willingness to engage with its customers shows that banks really do reap rewards when they display a strong customer service ethic.

MOST CONSISTENT FINANCIAL PROVIDER

WINNER: NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY
HIGHLY COMMENDED: HSBC

Taking the Moneywise Customer Services Award for Most Consistent Financial Provider is a company that has impressed you for providing comprehensive service, its transparent approach to rates and delivering across a range of services year in, year out. The 2013 winner is Nationwide Building Society.

One happy Nationwide customer told Moneywise: "Nationwide offers me a comprehensive service with comparable rates of interest and the feeling of an increased level of security due to its size and position in the marketplace."

MOST IMPROVED BANK

WINNER: BANK OF SCOTLAND
HIGHLY COMMENDED: SANTANDER

This year's winner of the Most Improved Bank award goes to Bank of Scotland, which experienced a 28% reduction in the number of votes it received for least trusted financial services provider compared to its performance in 2012.

MOST TRUSTED CURRENT ACCOUNT PROVIDER

WINNER: SMILE
HIGHLY COMMENDED: FIRST DIRECT

The winner of this award has built a really loyal band of customers, whose votes have crowned it Most Trusted Current Account Provider for four years on the trot. One survey respondent said of the 2013 winner, Smile: "I trust it and the service works. I've rarely had a problem but when I have, it sorted it out."

MOST TRUSTED CAR INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: CSIS
HIGHLY COMMENDED: NFU MUTUAL

Moneywise readers have voted CSIS, the Civil Service Insurance Society, as the winner of Most Trusted Car Insurance Provider. Although its policies are only available to serving and former civil servants, the not-for-profit organisation's customers are particularly impressed by the quality of cover their policies provide, as well as their value for money.

MOST TRUSTED HOME INSURANCE PROVIDER

WINNER: NFU MUTUAL
HIGHLY COMMENDED: YORKSHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY

Building on its success in the car insurance market, Moneywise readers also voted NFU Mutual Most Trusted Home Insurer this year. The company prides itself on its customer focus, and survey responses included: "They are in touch with the real world and I trust them."

MOST TRUSTED MORTGAGE PROVIDER

WINNER: FIRST DIRECT
HIGHLY COMMENDED: YORKSHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY

First Direct has been voted Most Trusted Mortgage Provider for the second year in a row. One customer told Moneywise, simply: "Good service. No problems. Excellent offset mortgage."

Another said: "I have had excellent service from them ever since I transferred my current account, mortgage and savings to them."

Of the people voting for First Direct, the chief reason given was the competitiveness of its rates but survey respondents were also appreciative of its "brilliant customer service, anytime of day or night" and its staff, who are "always polite and helpful".

The lender was also highly rated by the judges of this year's Moneywise Mortgage Awards and won in two categories – Best Lender for Offset Mortgages and Best Lender for Flexible Mortgages. Judge Gareth Lowman, associate director of SPF Private Clients, highlighted the fact its competitively priced products are always available with various fee options.

It also provides fixed as well as tracker offset mortgages and its flexible mortgages offer customers the ability to make overpayments and the chance to take payment holidays.

MOST TRUSTED CREDIT CARD PROVIDER

WINNER: FIRST DIRECT
HIGHLY COMMENDED: JOHN LEWIS

Moneywise readers have voted First Direct the winner of this year's Most Trusted Credit Card Provider award. Comments included: "The customer service team were very helpful when I contacted them by telephone. The website is very easy to access and use. They have excellent rates for their gold credit card and other services."

MOST TRUSTED PERSONAL LOAN PROVIDER

WINNER: ZOPA
HIGHLY COMMENDED: RATESETTER

For the fourth year in a row, this award has been won by Zopa – a peer-to-peer lender. This type of lending, also known as social lending, offers savers the chance to become lenders, earning higher interest rates than the banks can currently offer. Companies like Zopa and Ratesetter effectively act as a middleman, connecting those wanting to loan money with those who need to borrow it.

MOST TRUSTED FUND MANAGER

WINNER: FIRST STATE INVESTMENTS
HIGHLY COMMENDED: INVESCO PERPETUAL

Moneywise has introduced a new award this year to reinforce our belief in the importance of direct investment in funds as part of long-term financial planning. Our readers have voted First State Investments as their Most Trusted Fund Manager.

It's Scottish Oriental Smaller companies Investment Trust was highly commended in the Moneywise Investment Trust Awards in April this year with the judges highlighting First State's cautious approach and long-term investment process based on investing in high-quality companies as its secrets of success.

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