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Industry reacts to bank service league tables

Theo Osborn | 13:00 Friday 17th August 2018

Earlier this week, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) released the survey results ranking banks on their quality of service.

The survey featured British banks and building societies with more than 150,000 personal current accounts or 20,000 business current accounts.

Will the survey results affect banks’ quality of service?

Simon Furnell, COO at Masthaven Bank, said: “A greater focus on service should raise standards across the industry, where a drive for lower cost, uniform decisions and commoditisation has tended to result in frustration for customers.

“The choice of new banks has never been greater, and customers should shop around and find an organisation that meets their needs as individuals.”

Ricky Knox, CEO at Tandem, suggested that all banks must now base their business on delivering great service.

“Thanks to these new measures, you can walk into a bank or look on their website and easily determine the quality of their service, just like you could with a hygiene rating or reviews on TripAdvisor for a restaurant.”

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, said: “Giving consumers more information about the service personal current account providers offer will help encourage customers to shop around and find the best account to suit their needs.

“It will also assist in continuing to drive up service standards across the board.”

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, added: “Having the right financial partners and finance providers is critical to the success of a business.

“The new information … includes ratings for SMEs of service through business centres and relationship management, helping businesses [to] choose the right facilities and promoting higher standards across the market.”

Puneet Taneja, head of operations at Intelenet Global Services, believed that there was new technology that banks could use to improve their customer services.

“In the age of the customer, it is crucial that banks can provide advice and support that is truly in the customers’ best interest.

“Keeping up with new technology is vital to maintaining a sustainable relationship between banks and their customers.

“For instance, voice recognition software can be paired with customer records and analytic tools to identify a specific customer and confirm which department they require before sending them there directly.”

The FCA also announced that providers will have to publish all details of available services and helplines, contact details for help, how often the firm has had to report major operational and security incidents and the published level of complaints made against the firm.

Andrew Stevens, financial services expert at Quadient, said: “The arrival of Open Banking has already made it easier for consumers to switch providers and started to show banks that poor customer experience simply won’t be tolerated.

“[The] new rules from the FCA serve to really hammer home this point, placing the consumer in an increasingly firm position of power.

“This may seem like a lot to take on, but rather than viewing it as a negative, banks should see this as an opportunity to improve their relationship with customers.

“There is no denying that this is a testing time for the financial services industry, but the bottom line is that those who come out on top will be those who continue to prioritise the needs of the consumer.”

Dave Anderson, digital performance expert at Dynatrace, said: “These rules confirm what we all have known for a long time – users demand websites and apps that work every single time they log on.

“There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to transact, transfer money, check your balance or trade.

“That is why, under this new scrutiny, it is vital that banks expand their monitoring intelligence footprint and, as IT complexity today is beyond human capability, it’s imperative to ensure AI is at the core.

“The only solution is to ensure the banks can predict and even prevent problems before end users are impacted, as system outages will now impact a bank’s brand like never before.”

How have the banks involved reacted?

Challenger Metro Bank was placed in the top two for the GB personal banking survey in all categories (overall service quality, online and mobile banking, overdraft and branch services).

Craig Donaldson, CEO at Metro Bank, said: “Providing services that impress and delight our customers goes to the very heart of who we are, and these findings are testament to how far we’ve already come in disrupting British banking and providing customers with the very best banking experience.”

However, in the same survey, RBS was placed last for overall service quality.

A spokesperson for RBS, commented: “We are aware we have more work to do in order to improve our service standards and deliver a better experience for our customers.

“That is why we are investing in improving the products and services we offer our personal and business customers, whether that’s through launching initiatives such as the UK’s first paperless mortgage or ESME, our digital-lending platform for SMEs, which are helping us to deliver better service for our customers.”

Handelsbanken topped the rankings of British SME current account providers.

Mikael Sorensen, CEO at Handelsbanken UK, said: “Our local branch-based model means that staff get to know their customers very well and are able to offer services based on their needs and requirements.

“A current area of focus for us is increased investment in, and further development of, compelling digital solutions, giving our customers greater flexibility in how they engage with us.”

Elsewhere, Barclays was placed first for mobile and online banking for SME current account providers.

Ian Rand, CEO at Barclays Business Banking, said: “We think the popularity of our app is not just about it being easy to use and looking good, but also about what it can do.

“For example, many of our business customers can see loans of up to £25,000 available on their mobiles at the touch of a button.

“This gives SMEs confidence, and can save them time and help them grow.”

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