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Big banks fail customer service test

Bank of Scotland rated worst for satisfaction

First Direct tops People's Choice poll

First Direct tops the Which? Money People’s Choice 2010 poll

Which? Money today reveals the results of its People’s Choice poll, with big high street banks continuing to fall short of customers’ expectations, while smaller banks, such as First Direct and Smile, come out top.

The annual round-up of Which? member satisfaction surveys reveals the best and worst financial brands for customer satisfaction in four key areas – current accounts, savings, credit cards and mortgages

First Direct, One Account and Smile scored best, leaving Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Santander at the bottom of the table.

First Direct top for customer satisfaction

Excellent customer service remains key to keeping customers happy, as First Direct came top in three satisfaction surveys – current accounts, savings and mortgages – giving it an overall score of 82%. Current account mortgage experts, One Account, came in second with a score of 81%, while Smile came third with 79%.

Consumers looking for happy banking should steer clear of banks owned by the Lloyds Banking Group, as Bank of Scotland and Halifax both sit at the bottom of the table, while Lloyds TSB and Cheltenham & Gloucester don’t score much better.

Compared with the overall average of 59%, Bank of Scotland came bottom of the table with an overall score of just 43%, Halifax’s overall score was 46%, Cheltenham & Gloucester’s score was 50% and Lloyds TSB scored 53%.

Banking giant Santander also scored poorly, with a satisfaction score of just 47%, while Northern Rock wasn’t much better, scoring just 49%.

If you’re unhappy with your bank, switch

Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith said: ‘Whether it’s a current account, mortgage, credit card or savings account, we consistently see the same names keeping their customers happy.

‘Time and again, the big high street banks are found to be lacking when it comes to good customer service. People who are unhappy with their bank must vote with their feet and move to a better financial provider.’

Which? research

In October/November 2009 and April 2010, Which? Money surveyed 14,621 Which? members about current accounts and 13,524 about savings accounts. In January and June 2010 Which? Money surveyed 4,522 members about their mortgage lenders, and in July 2009 and March 2010 10,758 members were surveyed about their credit card providers.

To calculate overall satisfaction scores, Which? Money combined members’ overall satisfaction with their likelihood of recommending the provider to a friend.

Read the full report in September’s Which? Money

The full article ‘People’s Choice 2010’ appears in the September 2010 issue of Which? Money magazine. Try two issues of Which? Money for just £2 with our trial offer.

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