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Customer service in banks is key

Customer service in banks is key

A recent survey into service levels in the banking sector suggests that customer service is the key to regaining consumer confidence.

The findings, released by performance measurement specialist Grass Roots, suggest that the level of trust a customer feels for a bank’s brand is a direct result of the quality of service provided. The survey also highlighted that more opportunity exists for banks to sell products when key service issues are addressed.

Over 400 mystery shopping visits were carried out at branches of major high street banks and building societies across the UK.  Branches were visited at different times during the week with mystery shoppers briefed to enquire about placing £500-£1,000 in a savings account that offered immediate access.

Key findings of the study are as follows:

·       Trust is critical – banks achieving an overall service score of between 75-100% achieved significantly higher ratings of trust when compared to banks with a lower overall service score.

·       More sales opportunities exist – 60% of staff failed to offer to open an account.  Of these 40% would have done so there and then. In simple terms one in four sales opportunities are missed simply but not offering to open an account.

·       Staff need to ask more questions – establishing the customer’s requirements is critical. Only two thirds of bank staff asked how much the customer had to invest.

·       Knowledge levels can be improved– Just one in five customers rated staff as having excellent product knowledge.  A key differentiator when there are fewer customers around.

·       Less waiting time – 76% of the survey’s customers were served within the ‘tipping point’ of three minutes. General customer satisfaction with the amount of time needed to queue in a bank was 78% which is an improvement on the satisfaction rating of 70% reported in a similar survey conducted by Grass Roots in 2005.

·       More friendly staff – 64% of staff made an excellent first impression with survey participants – a 5% increase on the results from the 2005 survey. 95% of participants reported that they had been greeted by staff in a friendly way.

Nigel Cover, Board Director at Grass Roots commented: “At a time when the financial sector is under close scrutiny, we have identified that maintaining service standards is a critical part of customer loyalty. This study indicates that provision of excellent service every time a customer interacts with a bank is essential for trust levels to be maintained.

“Everyone understands the pressure on Retail Banking in the UK.  The warning sign for banks is that low trust and confidence means that customers are more likely to shop around and less likely to recommend their bank to others. Those banks that invest in understanding the knowledge and skills of their frontline staff and drive these forward have the biggest opportunity to regain customer trust and confidence and retain their business.”

To download the full survey report, visit <>

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