In January the BSA commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct independent consumer research into customer service levels at building societies and other financial service providers.
Participants with either a mortgage, or savings, were asked to state to what extent they agreed or disagreed with seven customer service statements about their mortgage and savings providers. Out of those who gave an opinion, the results show that members of building societies experience better levels of customer service compared to customers of banks and other providers. In fact, building societies scored higher across all seven metrics.
92% of building society members agreed that their provider ‘provides good customer service’ compared to 84% of customers at banks and other providers – an 8 percentage point lead. This is up from 6 percentage points from when the survey was last run in July 2016.
The data shows that whilst customer service ratings at building societies remained the same or increased in January, scores moved in the opposite direction for the rest of the industry, allowing building societies to extend their lead.
Savings interest rates have been on a downwards trend even before the Bank Rate was cut to 0.25% in August. However, 78% of building society members agreed that their provider offered competitive rates, unchanged from July 2016. Just 62% of customers at banks and other providers agreed with this, down from 69% in July 2016, a 7 percentage point decline - giving building societies a 16 percentage point lead.
Data from Savings Champion* shows that the average rate offered by building societies in 2016 was 1.09% compared to 0.81% at banks. This may go some way to explain the lower levels of satisfaction with bank customers.
Another notable result was the proportion of customers who agreed that their provider would listen and act upon any feedback. 78% of building society members agreed with this (up from 73% in June) compared to 59% at banks and other providers (down from 62% in June). This allowed building societies to take a large 18 percentage point lead.
The BSA Savings Champion press release can be found here.
The proportions saying ‘Don’t Know’ are excluded from the results.
Respondents were asked individually about their mortgage provider and then their savings account provider. For those who had both with a building society or a different type of provider, an average score was taken so not to double count responses.
Analysis was conducted by Building Societies Association based on data from YouGov Plc. Both surveys were conducted online and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
January 2017: Total sample size was 2088 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th - 25th January 2017.
July 2016: Total sample size was 2052 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 4th July 2016.