The January 2022 UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) reveals that banks and building societies have ranked their highest for customer satisfaction in three years – and that the financial services sector is performing better than the UK’s all-sector average.
Complaints handling has become more of a priority for financial services organisations in recent years, and this trend has again been reflected in the Institute of Customer Service’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) report. In the recently published January 2022 edition, the performance of the financial services sector is impressive, especially when benchmarked against the other 12 sectors that the study comprises – although this does not mean that banks and building societies don’t still have plenty of room for improvement.
Better at handling complaints but with more instances
Financial services organisations have rated 80.2% for customer satisfaction, which is the highest since achieving 80.4% in January 2021. This puts the sector in seventh place out of the 13 sectors about which that the Institute asks customers, just sneaking into the top half.
One negative is that although the sector has become better at dealing with customers’ grievances, more people are coming forward to complain – 14.1% of customers experienced a problem with an organisation, which is 2.9% more than three years ago and the highest number since January 2011’s 15.6%. However, it’s worth mentioning that 14.1% is still 2.3% below the UK average.
All financial services’ complaint handling measures have improved by at least 9% compared to January 2021, with satisfaction of the handling rising to 67%, an improvement of 11%. In terms of getting everything right first time when approached by the customer, banks and building societies came in at a healthy 84.4% (around 5% higher than the all-sector average), with the most common problem that prompts complaints being the quality or reliability of goods/services; this top answer was nearly twice as popular as those that came in second (suitability of goods/services) and third (availability of goods/services).
Apps gaining popularity
The study found that 16.8% of customer experiences now take place via an app, which is 4.1% more than a year ago – and out of all the sectors covered by the study, financial services had the highest use of apps for customer service. The majority of these app experiences were for checking account information or receiving a regular account statement/bill.
However, in-person customer experiences still came out highest, with more than a quarter (26.1%) of all recorded customer experiences conducted this way, nearly identical to the figure in the January 2021 study. Customers are becoming more astute to how and when they communicate their experience, especially since the onset of the pandemic. The report highlights that whilst adopting more of a technology approach using an app to convey experience or to complain, customers continue to prefer the human-centred approach, feeling that an empathetic first-time resolution will be achieved by speaking to an individual.
We know that the use of AI can provide a significant customer experience opportunity, with one in three customers finding it difficult to complain and significant numbers failing to do so – meaning businesses are missing improvement opportunities and losing customers without recourse. The report shows that more work is needed to give customers the confidence to adopt this approach and this is key as there is a clear correlation between customer satisfaction and retention.
According to the study, making it easier to contact the right person to help is the number one issue that financial services organisations should address.
Financial services improving across the board
Some other notable findings for financial services from the latest UKCSI include:
- Current account experiences earned an average satisfaction rating of 81.2%, an increase of 1.8% over January 2021.
- Satisfaction for experiences that relate to savings increased by 0.6% to 78.9%.
- Average satisfaction for credit card experiences was 78.8%, an improvement of 2.3%.
- The channels with the highest increases in satisfaction were web chat (up 5.2%) and email (up 3.5%).
- Most problems were resolved immediately (more than 25%).
- NPS was 30.4, better than the all-sector average of 27.5.
The UKCSI January 2022’s dimensions of customer satisfaction
Banks & building societies
UK all-sector average
As a proud member of The Institute of Customer Service, we understand the financial services industry and provide bespoke solutions to meet your individual organisational and customer needs. In our experience, it is important to understand ‘the voice of our customer’ in building a deeper understanding of key themes and challenges in order to support and address issues.