THE Co-operative Bank and its online provider smile were highly praised in a survey of 45 banks and building societies organised by BBC TV’s consumer affairs programme, Watchdog.
In the edition of Watchdog broadcast last week it was announced that smile finished second in the customer satisfaction survey, with the Bank in third place ahead of all its high street competitors including Barclays, RBS, Halifax and Lloyds TSB.
Over 13,000 viewers took part in the poll and the results were analysed by market research company Mintel. Respondents were first asked to select the bank or building society with whom they hold their main account or felt most strongly about.
The list included all banks that offered current accounts and day-to-day banking.
While internet bank First Direct came first in the survey, Co-operative Financial Services were overall winners in terms of a well-rounded customer offering.
The report concluded that customers who voted for the Bank were most likely to respond that the service has improved during the time with them. Almost 60 per cent of Bank customers said the service they currently receive has improved or was “much improved.”
Over 90 per cent of smile customers surveyed said that they would recommend their bank to family and friends, with the same number of smile customers saying that the policies and charges were “clear and transparent.”
Of those people who had a complaint with their provider, a far higher percentage than average of voters who banked with the Co-operative Bank or smile said that it was “easy or very easy to resolve”.
The survey did not ask about ethical practices, so there was no verdict on the Bank’s ethical policy.
CFS Chief Executive David Anderson commented: “To be crowned overall high street winner in terms of customer satisfaction is a fantastic achievement for the Bank, with the icing on the cake being smile ranked as the number two overall provider.
“These findings demonstrate our continued commitment to our customers in every aspect of our service proposition from face-to-face communication in our branches, our call centres and online. We should be extremely proud of this acknowledgement from Watchdog’s viewers which provides a clear indication that we are moving in the right direction to become the UK’s most admired financial services business.”
Visit: www.bbc.co.uk/watchdog for the full results.