Best bank in UK for customer service

While there are some banking institutions that do little to inspire customer confidence, many banks in the UK generally provide satisfactory banking services. According to the annual JD Power and Associates retail banking customer satisfaction survey released December 2011, UK banking customers are even more satisfied with their bank services and products than before the advent of the credit crunch. So, which was the best bank in UK for customer service beginning 2012 and what were the rating criteria?

Customer service rating criteria

The customer satisfaction survey requested customers to index their satisfaction levels with their bank in six different areas: Bank product offerings, account information, account activities, branch quality, fees and problem resolution. The average rating from respondents showed that customer service had risen up from an average of 683 in 2010 to 698 closing 2011 out of a 1,000 point scale.

Thirteen banks were studied in the survey. 40% of respondents indicated they left their bank due to poor customer service. 43% said poor customer service was the number one reason for wanting to leave their bank. The high percentage of people citing poor customer service as the main reason for leaving their bank emphasises the importance of good customer service in winning and retaining customers.

First Direct – winner of best bank in UK

It was not a big surprise really that First Direct emerged as the best bank in UK for customer service. The bank tends to win almost every customer service award in the UK. First Direct scored a remarkable 774 points in the JD Power and Associates retail banking customer satisfaction survey, excelling in four of six categories: Product offerings, account information, account activities and fees.

Similar to the other top-performing accounts in the survey like Co-operative, Nationwide and RBS, First Direct customers don’t earn anything in interest with the bank’s 1st Account. However, while you don’t earn in interest, you get a £100 welcome bonus for opening an account, an interest-free £250 overdraft and a further £100 if you are not satisfied with the account and decide to close it after six months.

Worst rated banks in the survey

Abbey was the worst rated bank in the survey. Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, Barclays and HSBC got below average rating in the customer service index for best bank in UK. Head of research at JD Power had this to say when releasing the findings of the study.

“High levels of customer satisfaction inevitably impact the number of positive recommendations that customers are willing to give… more positive recommendations can give customers more options and more confidence as they search for a new retail banking institution.”

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