Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Consumer Service Expectations in Financial Services - UK - April 2013

“It is pretty much impossible to achieve 100% customer satisfaction. Even the most customer-focused company will make mistakes from time to time. But people are willing to forgive financial services firms for errors as long as they can show that they are trying to solve the problem as quickly as possible. Customers want brands to be open and honest about any mistakes and, as long as they are not left out of pocket, the majority will stick with their provider.”

– Stevan Obradovic, Financial Services Analyst

Some questions answered in this report include:

  • How do people react when companies make mistakes?
  • Which channels are most effective for resolving customer complaints?
  • Is social media a useful tool for managing customer service?
  • How can financial services firms improve their telephone services?

Over the last year, a number of financial services firms have changed the way in which they operate in order to improve their customer service. Banks and building societies are moving away from paying staff for selling more products. Instead, they are rewarding staff when they offer great customer service.
 
The financial services industry has endured a difficult period. Retail banking providers have had to deal with scandals such as payment protection insurance mis-selling and the LIBOR-fixing affair. Insurers are also having their own difficulties, including a lack of trust and product commoditisation. Across the industry, brands find it hard to prove their customer service credentials or differentiate themselves on anything other than price.
 
Consumers dislike many of the industry’s practices, such as automated telephone systems, overseas call centres and product small print. Mintel’s research shows that most people have at some point been disappointed by the service they received from a financial services firm. However, people recognise that mistakes can happen and the majority will be willing to forgive their provider, as long as it rectifies the mistake and is honest throughout the process.
 
This report investigates expectations of customer service, how customers approach a bad customer service experience, and what they expect financial services firms to do when they do make a mistake. Customers’ annoyances are also considered, as well as attitudes towards customer services and brand reputation and influence.

 

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Abbreviations
      • Executive Summary

          • Financial services in context
            • Local shops and building societies lead the way in customer service expectations
              • Figure 1: Expectations of customer service across a selection of different industries, January 2013
            • Consumers and financial service complaints
              • Customer service experience by product
                • Consumers use a range of channels to complain
                  • Figure 2: Customer reactions to being let down by a financial services firm, January 2013
                • Solve the complaint quickly and make sure people are not out of pocket
                  • Figure 3: Resolution of complaints, January 2013
                • Customer service annoyances
                  • Automated telephone systems irritate a third of consumers
                    • Figure 4: Attitudes towards telephone systems and overseas call centres, January 2013
                  • Incompetent staff annoy two-fifths of consumers
                    • Figure 5: Customer annoyances, January 2013
                  • Attitudes toward Customer Service
                    • Some firms are just better than others
                      • Figure 6: Brand reputation and influence, January 2013
                    • Transparency and openness is crucial in good customer service
                      • Figure 7: Consumer attitudes towards service expectations, January 2013
                    • What we think
                    • Issues in the Market

                        • How do people react when companies make mistakes?
                          • Which channels are most effective for resolving customer complaints?
                            • Is social media a useful tool for managing customer service?
                              • How can financial services firms improve their telephone services?
                              • Trend Application

                                • Face-to-face meetings by proxy
                                  • Problem: Deal with it
                                    • Mintel futures: Human
                                    • Customer Service Expectations – Financial Services in Context

                                      • Key points
                                        • Financial services firms are not the best, but not the worst either
                                          • Figure 8: Expectations of customer service across a selection of different industries, January 2013
                                        • Price sensitivity in the insurance market impacts consumer perceptions
                                          • Local and friendly approach resonates with older customers
                                            • Figure 9: Expectations of customer service from building societies, by age, January 2013
                                        • Customer Service Experience by Product

                                          • Key points
                                            • Consumers are more likely to have been let down by insurance and current accounts
                                              • Figure 10: Customer service experience over the last two years among users of selected financial services products, January 2013
                                            • Insurance is one of the areas of contention for consumers
                                              • Product complaints are dominated by PPI
                                                • Figure 11: Top five financial product complaints, 2011/12*
                                              • Three in ten at least suspect that they have been mis-sold a financial product
                                                • Figure 12: Proportion of consumers who feel they have been sold an unsuitable financial product, March 2013
                                              • PPI leaves a financial as well as a reputational legacy…
                                                • Figure 13: Proportion of consumers who feel they have been sold an unsuitable financial product, March 2013
                                              • …and mortgage endowments show just how long customer service failures can live on
                                                • The majority of consumers have been let down at some point
                                                  • Figure 14: Customer service experience across a range of financial products*, January 2013
                                                • In with customer service satisfaction, out with sales targets
                                                • How Consumers Complain about Financial Services

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Customers use a mixture of methods to lodge complaints
                                                      • Figure 15: Customer reactions to being let down by a financial services firm, January 2013
                                                    • The importance of word of mouth recommendations
                                                      • Social media is rarely used, and few adults post their experiences online
                                                        • Social media is the perfect way to demonstrate accountability
                                                          • Some 18% of adults changed their product/account as a result of poor service…
                                                              • Figure 16: Proportion of customers who would switch providers after receiving poor customer service, by age group, January 2013
                                                            • …while a quarter of adults simply do nothing after being let down
                                                            • Consumer Preferences for the Resolution of Complaints

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Resolutions and financial security are important when restoring consumer confidence
                                                                  • Figure 17: Resolution of complaints, January 2013
                                                                • An honest and humble approach should lead the way
                                                                  • Financial compensation is secondary
                                                                    • Some variances in expected resolutions between complaint channels
                                                                      • Figure 18: Resolution of complaints, by customer reactions to being let down by a financial services firm, January 2013
                                                                    • Track the progress of your complaint
                                                                    • Overseas Call Centres and Telephone Systems

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Automated telephone systems are a headache for consumers
                                                                          • Figure 19: Attitudes towards telephone systems and overseas call centres, January 2013
                                                                        • Overseas call centres are problematic for a number of reasons
                                                                          • Over-65s more likely to find issue with current systems
                                                                            • Figure 20: Attitudes towards telephone systems and overseas call centres, January 2013
                                                                          • Poor customer service can accentuate system and call centre annoyances
                                                                            • Figure 21: Attitudes towards telephone systems and overseas call centres, by customer service experience*, January 2013
                                                                        • Customer Service Annoyances

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Improvements in staff training and customer care
                                                                              • Figure 22: Customer annoyances, January 2013
                                                                            • Affluent customers more opposed to cross- and up-selling attempts
                                                                              • Figure 23: Annoyance at cross-selling or up-selling, by gross annual household income, January 2013
                                                                            • Customers will warn family and friends about small print
                                                                              • Figure 24: Customer reactions to being let down by a financial services firm, by selected customer annoyances, January 2013
                                                                              • Figure 25: Resolution of complaints, by customer annoyances, January 2013
                                                                          • Brand Reputation and Influence

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • “Some brands are simply better”
                                                                                • Figure 26: Brand reputation and influence, January 2013
                                                                              • Internet and social media are reference points for checking brand reputation
                                                                                • Let down consumers more likely to feel that complaints are warranted
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Agreement with the statement “people are too quick to complain about banks and other financial services firms”, by customer service experience, January 2013
                                                                                • Driving down complaints should help to improve perceptions of the industry
                                                                                  • Customers who switch are more demanding of brands
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Brand reputation and influence, by account/provider switching, January 2013
                                                                                • Consumer Service Expectations

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • No frills – just the basics please
                                                                                      • Figure 29: Consumer attitudes towards service expectations, January 2013
                                                                                    • Customer service: few feel you have to pay for excellent service…
                                                                                      • …but some will pay for premium service
                                                                                        • Expectations dependent on past experience
                                                                                          • Figure 30: Agreement with the statement “I always expect the worst when dealing with financial services firms”, by customer service experience”, January 2013
                                                                                        • Fixing mistakes quickly and transparently
                                                                                        • Trust in Banks’ Customer Service Credentials

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • People trust their banks’ operational competence…
                                                                                              • Figure 31: Investigating different elements of trust, August 2012
                                                                                            • …but have less faith in whether their bank will give them a fair deal
                                                                                              • Branch staff hold the key to great customer service
                                                                                                • Figure 32: Trust in bank and building society staff, August 2012
                                                                                            • Appendix – Customer Service Expectations – Financial Services in Context

                                                                                                • Figure 33: Customer service expectations from local shops, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 34: Customer service expectations from building societies, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 35: Customer service expectations from supermarkets, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 36: Customer service expectations from solicitors, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 37: Customer service expectations from banks, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 38: Customer service expectations from travel companies, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 39: Customer service expectations from mortgage lenders, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 40: Customer service expectations from investment firms, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 41: Customer service expectations from mobile phone companies, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 42: Customer service expectations from insurers, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 43: Customer service expectations from utility firms, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 44: Customer service expectations from estate agents, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Customer Service Experience by Product

                                                                                                • Figure 45: Customer service performance across a range of financial products*, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – How Consumers Complain about Financial Services

                                                                                                • Figure 46: Customer reactions to being let down by a financial services firm, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Customer Preferences for the Resolution of Complaints

                                                                                                • Figure 47: Favourable resolution to complaints, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 48: Less important resolution to complaints, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Overseas Call Centres and Telephone Systems

                                                                                                • Figure 49: Telephone systems and overseas call centres, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Customer Service Annoyances

                                                                                                • Figure 50: Biggest customer annoyances, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 51: Less cited customer annoyances, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Brand Reputation and Influence

                                                                                                • Figure 52: Agreement with the statements ‘Some companies are simply better at customer service than others ‘ and ‘I would prefer to use a brand with a good track record for customer service’, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 53: Agreement with the statements ‘Internet forums and social media are useful resources for checking brand reputation and customer experiences’ and ‘People are too quick to complain about banks and other financial services firms ‘, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Consumer Attitudes Towards Service Expectations

                                                                                                • Figure 54: Agreement with the statements ‘I expect things to be done properly, no more and no less’ and ‘Transparency and openness is key to delivering a good customer service experience’, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 55: Agreement with the statements ‘ ‘I can forgive a company for making a mistake – it’s how they deal with that mistake that matters’ and ‘I expect firms to above and beyond when it comes to customer service’, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                                • Figure 56: Agreement with the statements ‘I always expect the worst when dealing with financial services firms’ and ‘You have to pay more to get good customer service ‘, by demographics, January 2013
                                                                                            • Appendix – Additional Data – Internet Penetration

                                                                                                • Figure 57: Broadband penetration, by demographics, 2004-12

                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                            To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                            Consumer Service Expectations in Financial Services - UK - April 2013

                                                                                            £2,195.00 (Excl.Tax)