- Customer’s trust in their bank plummets as the uSwitch.com Current Account Awards are announced – but overall satisfaction is on the rise
- Big high street banks rooted to the bottom of the table for customer satisfaction with RBS taking the wooden spoon for the third time in four years
- First Direct sweeps the board, picking up ten awards with Nationwide Building Society scoops remaining two
- HSBC narrowly avoids a second successive year in last spot overall but comes last in most categories – seven out of twelve categories
- Current account holders remain unimpressed with rewards on offer from their banks.
Over the past year, customers’ trust in their banks has taken a rapid nose dive according to the latest Current Account Awards announced by uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service. However, at the same time, the overall satisfaction of customer’s day-to-day dealings with their banks is on the increase.
This loss of confidence has seen the trust ratings for every single bank slip when compared to the previous awards. The worst offender, RBS, saw trust fall by a third (64% to 42%), at the other end of the spectrum, Nationwide had the smallest drop with just a 7% dip in customer trust.
While trust fell, overall satisfaction is on the rise with ratings for almost every provider improving, highlighting that customers feel their banks are getting it right in the day to day services they provide. Despite this, there is a clear divide between the service provided by the main high street banks compared to the smaller competitors and building societies, with the latter consistently outperforming the former.
The overall winner, First Direct, claimed top spot for the second year in a row and was ranked number one in ten out of a possible twelve categories, including winning the award for Best Overall Customer Service and Best Switching Service. First Direct didn’t have it all its own way though and failed to impress customers when it comes to rewards, coming eighth in the Best Rewards category.
While Frist Direct once again impressed, its parent bank, HSBC, was ranked bottom in the most categories (seven in total), including all of the customer service awards (branch, phone, online and overall). Highlighting that putting customers first really does make a difference.
Nationwide came second overall, and is the outright winner for Best Rewards as well as Best – Branch Customer Service. The building society again showed it care for customers, placing second in nine awards.
The results reveal a disparity between customer satisfaction for online services and personal interaction with banks over the phone or in branch. Online services scored a higher combined average satisfaction rating of 63% compared to face-to-face services which only averaged 52%. Online customer service was also the most impressive category of the awards with every provider improving their ratings.
The award which saw banks perform worst in was the Best Rewards category, with an average rating of just 30% across all the awards. This is likely to be linked to the reduction in rewards on offer over the last year, with the likes of Santander, Halifax, Lloyds and TSB all cutting back on the perks offered to customers.
Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The fact that we have seen this alarming dip in trust, compared to the increase in overall customer satisfaction, shows that customers’ relationships with their banks is a marriage of convenience rather than one of romance.
“This decline in customer trust is definitely of concern and something that needs to be addressed by all the banks sooner rather than later if they wish to retain their customers, especially with the challenger banks continuing to go from strength to strength. With some of the better-known banks having fared the worst in this category, it’s safe to say they have the most work to do to regain their customers’ trust.
“We have seen how First Direct and Nationwide consistently get their act, demonstrating the importance of delivering great customer service all the time. The main task for the big players is to provide customers with an all-encompassing high standard of service that meets the needs of the modern-day customer, or risk falling even further behind. Likewise, customers seem to want something more in return than the banks currently offer as a reward for giving them their business.”
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