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Unhappy bank customers made to wait on the phone

31st Aug 2010
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Two out of five UK consumers are unhappy with the customer service provided by their high street bank, with an average phone call taking 74 seconds to answer and only one financial services provider deigning to respond to tweets.

According to surveys among 43,425 consumers by Which? Money, the average customer satisfaction score was 59%, with the big banks faring worst. Bank of Scotland came bottom of the league table with an overall rating of 43%, while Halifax came next with 46%, followed by Santander with 47%.

Top of the poll in three areas – current accounts, savings and mortgages - however, was First Direct, which scored 82%. Current account mortgage specialist One Account came second with a rating of 81%, while Smile was third at 79%.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Whether it’s a current account, mortgage, credit card or savings account, we consistently see the same names keeping their customers happy. Time and again, the big high street banks are found to be lacking when it comes to good customer service."

A poll by Virgin Media Business, meanwhile, found that the average customer phone call was not answered for 74 seconds, while only one high street bank bothered to respond to tweets - even though users posted as many as 180 per day about their financial service provider.

Paul Stewart, the firm’s director of customer service, said: "With demand for online customer service quickly building steam, banks really need to start thinking about how they’re going to offer help and advice to customers that want to get in touch by email, instant messaging and social networks as well as by phone."

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By Matthijn
31st Aug 2010 09:11

It looks like this bank is already modelling a customer service model in which the customer may have choise in the communication channel of preference. But the crucial point is not the bank choses the communication channel, but the customer decides which channel suites him/her best. This bank should offer all channels in order to satisfy its customers. But it does not stop there. Improving communication is not sufficient, solving customers' effort is. This blog[***]-and-solve-customers-problems.html illustrates, that customers want to do business, but they do not like the effort it takes to get their issues solved.

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