High street banks slump on customer satisfaction and complaints

Study finds

Some of the UK’s biggest banks have been ranked among the poorest performers for customer satisfaction and complaints handling, according to new analysis by Which?. 

Lloyds - the worst performing big bank with an overall score of 58 per cent - is in joint bottom place with Danske Bank. The results make disappointing reading for many of the other high street banks with Barclays (59 per cent), RBS (61 per cent), Halifax (63 per cent), Bank of Scotland (64 per cent), HSBC (64 per cent), Santander (66 per cent), all finishing in the lower half of the table. 

At the top end, Nationwide achieved an overall score of 77 per cent, followed by AA and Metro Bank – both on 75 per cent. In the customer score category, Nationwide was rated particularly highly by its credit card and current account customers. 

Looking at customer satisfaction, Which? found:

  • Britannia Building Society (55 per cent), which placed bottom for customer satisfaction in 2015, again finished joint last with Allianz (55 per cent), while Ageas scored 56 per cent.
  • Some of the biggest insurance brands were shown to have fallen down for customer satisfaction – with Allianz falling 31 places overall, while Swiftcover and Esure dropped 21 and 20 places respectively since 2015.
  • NFU Mutual received the highest overall customer score (79 per cent).
  • Credit card providers received the highest average customer satisfaction score (68 per cent) across the six product areas investigated.
  • The biggest improvement since 2015 was seen with Virgin Money, which jumped 29 places from 2015. Co-Operative Bank (up 25 places) and Bank of Scotland also achieved higher customer scores than two years ago.

Complaints analysis showed:

  • The big banks dominating the lower scores: Barclays fared poorly, with an overall complaints score of 58 per cent - just ahead of Lloyds, which came joint-bottom on 57 per cent; level with Danske Bank. Meanwhile HSBC (69 per cent), Bank of Scotland plc (66 per cent) and RBS (64 per cent) all placed in the bottom half.
  • Several brands including AA, Saga and Post Office received an impressive 100 per cent score for the speed in which complaints were resolved. Nationwide finished fourth on 98 per cent.
  • Looking at complaints scores alone, Saga ranked first with an impressive 85 per cent, helping to offset its below-average score in the customer satisfaction category.

Gareth Shaw, Which? money expert said:

“These results show a really varied consumer experience – with some success stories but also clear failures. Big banks stuck in the lower half of the table should act quickly to put customers first.

“Our analysis exposes a big gap between the best and worst. Consumers have more choice than they think so should make the switch to a provider that better suits them, rather than putting up with a poor service.”

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