Bank study shows satisfaction rise

Cash machineCustomer satisfaction with banks has generally increased in the last year, but lenders need to improve their relationships over issues such as fees and the handling of complaints, a study has said.

Overall satisfaction among retail banking customers averages 698 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 683 in 2010, according to market research group JD Power and Associates' retail banking satisfaction study.

Researchers said increased satisfaction with branch facilities helped drive the improvement, but customers' satisfaction with fees, product offerings and problem resolution was still relatively low.

"It appears that banks have taken action to improve the customer experience, and this effort has paid off," said Stuart Crawford-Browne, director of the services and emerging industries division at JD Power and Associates.

"However, retail banks in the UK are still not consistently delivering on customer pain points, such as fees, problems and complaints."

The study found 19% of customers experienced a problem in the past year, compared with 21% in 2010.

But the negative impact of problems remained significant, with a quarter of those who have experienced a problem during the past 12 months saying they "definitely will" or "probably will" switch institutions in the next year.

More than half (55%) of customers who have had a problem or complaint were disappointed with the resolution process.

Customers who experienced a problem were also more likely to indicate that their fee structure had changed in the past year.

"Retail banking customers tend to be especially dissatisfied with overdraft fees and monthly service charges, particularly the amount of these fees," said Mr Crawford-Browne.

© 2011 Press Association
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