First Direct has ousted John Lewis to take the number one slot in a customer service index of UK brands, released today by consultancy Nunwood.
The index ranks companies across a range of customer service elements, including the time and effort invested into customers, customer expectations, corporate integrity, problem resolution and empathy with customers.
Nunwood say First Direct top the ranking by being easily accessible and employing people who care foremost about providing excellent service. First Direct customers enjoy “…being able to get straight through to someone who wants to help and is warm and empathetic,” according to Nunwood.
Financial services improving
While First Direct came top overall, financial service companies as a whole have improved their customer service this year. The financial sector as a whole improved its 2013 score by 2.2% – the biggest improvement all in sectors surveyed.
The most improved score by an individual financial service company was Prudential, which moved up the ranking 163 places to number 48, followed by American Express moving up 123 places to number 49.
uSwitch Current Account Awards
The index matches the results of uSwitch research conducted earlier this year, which found First Direct to offer the best current account, followed by Nationwide and the Co-op.
The 2014 uSwitch Current Account Awards are based on the votes of 10,000 customers, with categories such as Most Trusted, Best Customer Service and Best Value for Money.
The research shows that after more than half a decade of reputation problems, the banking sector is winning back the public’s trust with almost three quarters of account holders now trusting their bank.
A more competitive market: good for customers?
This improvement could be a result of banks making efforts to win and retain customers in an increasingly competitive sector, especially after the Current Account Switching Guarantee was introduced in September 2013.
There is evidence that this has made a substantial impact on the banking sector with a 276% increase in current account switches from last year.
The guarantee ensures switching current account is quick and simple. It now takes no more than seven days to move all your incoming and outgoing payments to your new account, including Direct Debits, standing orders, and payments going such as your salary.
Think your bank could do better?
If you’re not happy with the service offered by your bank there is nothing stopping you switching to a new account.
If you like the sound of First Direct, their 1st Account offers a £100 cash incentive to new customers.
But you can compare all current accounts to find out which one offers the service you want. You could find an account that offers you better interest, more cashback as you spend or other rewards.