Building societies beat banks on client satisfaction

Building societies beat banks on client satisfaction

Building societies have beaten banks on both customer and broker satisfaction, according to data from Smart Money People.

The financial review site tracked feedback from 4,128 savings and mortgage customers in 2018 across 14 themes, including the skills and knowledge of staff, the ease of opening and managing accounts as well as interest rates.

It found savings customers had a 95 per cent satisfaction rate with their building society provider, versus a 88 per cent satisfaction rate for customers of banks.

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Building society mortgage customers were also more satisfied than bank customers, with a 93 per cent satisfaction rate, versus 80 per cent for customers of banks.

Smart Money People also carried out its Mortgage Lender Benchmark survey in the second half of 2018 examining what brokers thought about the lenders.

It spoke to 391 brokers about the last three lenders they’ve attempted to place cases with.

The data found 86 per cent of brokers were happy with the customer service and people skills provided by building societies, while only 69 per cent were happy with the service at banks.

Processing issues inspired the most negative feedback from brokers.

A mere 60 per cent of intermediaries said they were happy with the speed of completion from banks, while 71 per cent were happy with how building societies processed their clients’ mortgages.

Across all products, 2018 was the first year that banking and apps were the most preferred channel for day to day banking.

A total of 39 per cent of customers preferred banking via this route, up from 30.2 per cent in 2017.

Online and digital was second at 38 per cent, while telephone and branch banking lagged behind at 11.4 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

A third of customers aged 65 and over now prefer digital channels, according to Smart Money People, with 13 per cent of these preferring banking apps (up from 7 per cent in 2017). 

Face-to-face customer service remained vital, however, the review found, with customers valuing in particular the high quality, people-first approach of building societies.

For bank customers, interest rates was the second most important theme mentioned, but this was in fourth place among building society customers.

Michael Fotis, founder of Smart Money People, said: "Our analysis highlights important differences between banks and building societies which make a real impact on their customers’ satisfaction levels.

"Potential and existing customers need to know if a bank or building society will deliver the quality they demand both in terms of product and customer satisfaction. Feedback from over 4,000 reviews indicates that building societies appear to have the edge for now."