CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARDS CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARDS
YOUR VOTES ARE IN, ANDTHE MOSTTRUSTED COMPANIES INTHE UK ARE REVEALED
The good, the bad and the ugly first direct
BY NATHALIE BONNEY BY
The winners of the Moneywise Customer Service Awards were announced on 23 June. Following its successful showing at the awards last year, First Direct once again triumphed as overall winner, taking top spot in 12 individual categories, including best customer service for credit card, savings account, mortgage and travel insurance provider. Meanwhile, Santander held onto its dubious title of worst overall provider.
need for a push-button menu system.”
“On the odd occasion when things have gone wrong, it has always put them right straight away and compensated me fairly.”
“First Direct always makes me feel that I matter and always offers advice that helps me, rather than just itself.”
foreign customer services, I’m left on the phone for ages, and details on its printed letterheads and paperwork are wrong.”
“A visit to a large branch in Swansea to open a savings account was a nightmare and a waste of time, due to terrible service. I decided not to open an account based on the experience.”
“It’s not particularly competitive with its rates but its excellent customer service compensates for this fact.”
“Staff should be trained properly about products and terms and conditions before being let loose on the public.”
More than 12,000 of you took part, making it the largest survey of its kind in the UK.We hope the results will help you find providers that you can trust and that will provide great service. For all the winners, go to moneywise.co.uk/customer-serviceawards/results and watch out for our special supplement on the awards, free with next month’s issue.
This is what you had to say about this year’s overall winner and loser:
FIRST DIRECT “Very quick and efficient internet service with unique facility to access accounts with other providers. No-nonsense call centre staff.”
“Calls to the call centre are answered by staff who are always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, without the
SANTANDER “I had a nightmare opening up an ISA (wrong product opened and duplicated account). I’m constantly in the branch and on the phone to sort out problems. I speak to a different person each time, there are
“Since Santander took over A&L, we have had continual problems. Staff are inexperienced and trying to get problems resolved is a nightmare! Inexplicable things happen, such as monthly interest being paid net not gross.”
VOTE WITH YOUR FEET – THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE SWITCHING PROVIDERS Financial companies are relying on our inertia to get away with sloppy service, but if you’ve been on the receiving end of poor service don’t lie back and accept it. Switching providers is a great way to show financial companies they need to up their game. If you’re considering moving providers, ask yourself the following questions.
Would I be better off financially if I moved elsewhere? If you’re coming to the end of a fixed-rate period, be it a savings account or mortgage, you may get a better rate elsewhere.
Will my existing provider improve on its current offer? Once you’ve done the research, check if your current mortgage lender or insurer is willing to match the rates or prices you’ve found elsewhere in order to keep you. If the answer’s still no, unless you’re happy with its customer service, it’s probably time to move.
Is the sweetener worth it? Designed to entice new customers, added benefits may sound great – but are you compromising on the level of service or even on the financial product you receive in return for a gimmick? For example, Santander currently pays new current account customers £100 for switching, but our survey found that a lot of customers didn’t feel switching to the bank was worth the hassle.
8 MONEYWISE | JULY 2011