First Direct conquers all for CX as TSB hits rock bottom

first directFresh from being named the UK bank most likely to expose customers to online fraud, TSB has now been fingered as the worst for customer experience, too, by its own account holders.

Kantar’s CX+ report, which surveyed almost 8,700 retail banking customers, is claimed to be the only sector-specific index that measures the gap between the promise banks make to their customers and the actual brand experience they receive. It details how banks can narrow that gap in order to achieve greater levels of satisfaction, loyalty and profitability.

With a CX+ score of 134 (100 being the average), First Direct came out head and shoulders above its rivals, followed by Nationwide (on 119). However, both have a significant lead over the other eight banks in the rankings. Barclays (100) is third, followed by The Co-Operative Bank (97), HSBC (97) RBS (96), Halifax and Lloyds (94 each), NatWest (92) and TSB (90).

The report states that over the past decade the UK’s retail banks have sought to recover from the 2008 crash against a background of reputational and trust issues, huge technological advances, new competition from challenger banks and government regulation to open up the sector. The importance of delivering a strong customer experience that aligns with a clear brand promise has never been more important.

Kantar insights division co-chief executive Amy Cashman said that customer experience and brand strategy can no longer sit in organisational silos.

She added: “The magic happens only when brand promise and customer experience come together. It’s no longer enough for banks to simply provide a good product or service; customers want and expect a great experience with it, and the better the experience the more value a brand can command. As the report shows, in many ways the importance of experience now dwarfs everything else.”

Cashman insists that with the rise of challenger banks and out-of-category brands, such as Amazon, redefining what great experience looks like, established banks ignore the signs at their peril.

She continued: “Many traditional banks say that they want people to be better off but our CX+ leaders and disruptive fintechs are winning the battle for attention because they are taking purposeful action to ensure they consistently do things that aim to improve customers’ lives and allow them to feel more in control of their finances.”

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