From today (15 August 2018), banks must publish information on how likely people would be to recommend their bank – as well as its online and mobile banking, branch and overdraft services – to friends, relatives or other businesses.
The results come from an independent survey of thousands of personal and small business customers, and must be prominently displayed in banks’ branches, as well as on their websites and apps. This will make it easier for people to find out if another bank has a better offer and has been introduced to drive up competition between banks, so leading to a better overall quality of service for those who use them.
The new measure is one of a number being required by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following its in-depth investigation of the sector. The CMA also requested the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) build on this by making banks release further information on their performance and services to drive up standards, and make it easier for people to judge whether they are with the best bank for them.
Adam Land, Senior Director at the CMA, said:
For the first time, people will now be able to easily compare banks on the quality of the service they provide, and so judge if they’re getting the most for their money or could do better elsewhere.
This is one of the many measures – including Open Banking and overdraft text alerts – that we put in place to make banks work harder for their customers and help people shop around to find the best deals for them.
Banks will now be required by the FCA to publish details of available services and relevant helplines. In addition, the banks will also have to provide information about the number of major operational and security incidents they have experienced, and provide updates on their websites.
From February 2019, the FCA will expect that banks publish figures on how long it takes to open current accounts and replace debit cards.
Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, said:
Getting a good deal isn’t just about pricing. It’s also important for customers – including individuals and small businesses – to be able to judge the quality of service around their current account and to see whether other providers could offer something that suits them better. This information should encourage providers to offer the services that people value.
Dave Anderson, digital performance expert, Dynatrace, said:
These rules confirm what we all have known for a long time – users demand websites and apps that work every single time they log on. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to transact, transfer money, check your balance, or trade. Whilst us users take it for granted, the bank’s IT teams are struggling with severe complexity which is seriously impacting IT performance. More than any other industry, banks still contain a mix of archaic legacy systems, new cloud platforms, and yet are under pressure to accelerate their software development to combat the threat of their ‘digital-first’ competitors.
That is why, under this new scrutiny, it is vital that banks expand their monitoring intelligence footprint and, as IT complexity today is beyond human capability, it’s imperative to ensure AI is at the core. The only solution is to ensure the banks can predict and even prevent problems before end users are impacted, as system outages will now impact a bank’s brand like never before.
Andrew Stevens, Financial Services Expert at Quadient, said:
The arrival of Open Banking has already made it easier for consumers to switch providers and started to show banks that poor customer experience simply won’t be tolerated. Today’s new rules from the FCA serve to really hammer home this point, placing the consumer in an increasingly firm position of power.
The FCA’s announcement comes at a time when more than three quarters (76 percent) of consumers are ready to turn their backs on businesses that don’t meet their customer experience expectations. This means banks in the UK must get their ducks in a row, responding to the rules by increasing transparency and providing better communication to customers. Failing to do this will drive valuable customers to leave for another provider that understands the needs of the modern consumer.
This may seem like a lot to take on, but rather than viewing it as a negative, banks should see this as an opportunity to improve their relationship with customers. By opening up a conversation and being clear about any disruptions to service, internal changes, or even changes to accounts will go a long way in positioning the bank as a trusted provider which cares about its customers. It will also demonstrate to the FCA that it is doing the right thing.
There is no denying that this is a testing time for the financial services industry, but the bottom line is that those who come out on top will be those who continue to prioritise the needs of the consumer.
Ian Bradbury, CTO of Financial Services at Fujitsu UK, said:
This move from the CMA and the FCA is just the latest in a series of measures that are designed to prioritise customer experience in banking. While some might expect traditional banks to have a knee-jerk defensive reaction to initiatives such as Open Banking, which seeks to open up the market to challengers, these changes actually represent an opportunity for all financial services organisations.
Explicitly comparing and ranking banks on quality of service enables those who are developing a superior customer experience to demonstrate their pedigree to the market. Whether it’s well-designed mobile apps that help people seamlessly manage their finances or biometric security measures that ensure customers feel secure, technology offers many paths to creating this kind of experience. The CMA and FCA’s measures incentivise financial services organisations, whether the grand institutions or novel challengers, to pursue a better way of doing things.