The way a bank handles its complaints says a lot about its attitude to customer service. So are banks working hard enough to address their customers’ complaints and learn from their mistakes?
Not long ago, I asked my bank to change my address after I’d come back from living abroad – a fairly simple task you might think.
However, the bank continued to send my post to the other side of the world for six months before it actually managed to update my records.
Although I made lots of calls to my bank about the problem, I never actually registered a complaint. It seems strange to me now, but this is not uncommon. Our latest research on banking complaints found that a third of people who had problems with their bank didn’t register complaints.
Don’t be afraid to complain
One in five said they didn’t complain because they didn’t think their bank could solve the problem. And our research shows that, in many cases, they might be right, as a fifth of complaints weren’t dealt with satisfactorily by the banks.
We estimate that 12 million people – a quarter of all UK bank customers – have had problems with their current account over the past year.
Overall, poor customer service was the most common problem for customers across all the banks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, complaints that resulted in financial detriment, such as difficultly getting money back after a fraudulent transaction, were the most likely to be logged.
Banks should learn from their mistakes
Although occasional problems are inevitable, the way a bank handles complaints is important. If banks want to win back our trust, it’s vital that they sort out their complaints handling. When things go wrong, banks must act swiftly and fairly to deal with the problem, identify what caused it and make sure it’s not repeated. Some banks are getting this right, but they all need to do more to put their customers first.
Have you complained to your bank recently, and were you happy with the way it dealt with your complaint? Would a bank’s complaint numbers influence your decision to switch to them?