Posted: 2nd September 2010

Customer service? I wouldn’t bank on it!

The Daily Mail yesterday reported that ‘Britain’s biggest High Street banks have been swamped by a staggering 11,000 complaints a day from angry customers’.

Staggering is certainly the word I would use, that 9 out of 10 complaints would be rejected without a hint of an apology, but then we have probably all experienced this ourselves. In this day and age it is indeed staggering that any large customer-facing organisation can get away with such negligence. Are any of these organisations listening to their customers? Do they want to improve customer satisfaction? I wonder if customer loyalty and retention are high up on their agendas? According to Steve Williams, director of service quality and complaints at Santander, ‘We need to do more. Improving customer service remains a priority’. This remains to be seen.

Voice of the Customer programs, which advocate that companies actually listen to their customers and take appropriate remedial action, have clearly not made their mark on this industry yet. In the aftermath of the credit crunch and recent recession, this sector more so than any other, needs to be reaching out to the customer, instilling confidence and mending damaged reputations. And if ever an industry was crying out for a solution which not only collects customer feedback, but uses it to improve the customer experience and shape future strategy, it’s banking.

Marc Gander from the Consumer Action Group is correct in feeling truly underwhelmed by the complaints handling of these major banks. The important question is now – what will they do to rectify this extremely poor customer service experience? Both for the 1.4 million complaining customers in the past six months and for all the new ones in the coming weeks and months?!

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