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New banking reform manifesto encourages customer focus

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29th Jun 2010
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Consumer champion Which? has published a Banking Manifesto with the aim of encouraging financial institutions to put customer service ahead of short-term profitability in order to rebuild trust.

The release of the 10-point plan for action followed the issuing of 39 recommendations from the Future of Banking Commission earlier this month that were intended to generate dramatic change to banking culture in order to move the industry forward.
Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Banks have been allowed to ride roughshod over their customers for too long. Mis-selling, poor products and unsuitable financial advice have become the cornerstone of the banking culture and this must change."
The key demands made in the organisation’s Manifesto are:
  • Ban sales incentives and commissions and instead reward branch and call centre staff for providing high quality customer service.
  • Ensure all bank fees are fair, transparent and proportionate to the cost of providing the service.
  • Make switching easier, clearer and quicker.
  • Support customers who are in financial difficulty and ensure that bank charges and overdraft fees do not make the situation worse.
  • Do not penalise existing customers for loyalty.
  • Inform customers of the risks associated with their products and clearly state whether they are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
  • Offer 100% guarantees for new accounts, which should be protected from external risks.
  • Provide services that actually meet customer needs and offer a range that cover those who are unwilling or unable to bank online or prefer to use cheques.
  • Ensure complaints are dealt with fairly and in a timely manner.
  • Link management remuneration to long-term incentives based on hitting customer service goals.
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