Today we learnt that Barclays has more unhappy customers than any other bank in the country.
According to figures released by the Financial Services Authority, 205,000 customers lodged complaints about Barclays banking services in the six months to the end of December. This was 10,000 more than the first half of the year. The customer was proved right in just under half of the gripes investigated by Barclays.
What is particularly gnawing about this data is that it comes less than a month after it was revealed that Barclays' chief exec, Bob Diamond, was the highest paid banking boss in the country. In the year that 10,000 more customers queued to make a complaint, Diamond received a bonus of £6.5m, bringing his total pay up to £6.75m in 2010. I imagine those unhappy customers will probably be wondering how this bonus is justified.
But Barclays isn’t the only bank to fail in the customer service stakes. State-backed Natwest climbed up the complaints’ league table after a surge in banking disputes. General insurance and protection complaints more than doubled to 85,000 at Lloyds TSB, another taxpayer-backed bank.
The FSA began publishing complaints data about individual business last year in the hope that naming and shaming would raise customer service standards.
This seems to be working for some banks, such as Santander, which have seen dramatic decreases in their complaint numbers. However, some banks clearly still have a long way to go. Consumers shouldn’t feel trapped by poor service. If you want to see who is failing in this area, check out the FSA’s complaints data and then vote with your feet by moving your business elsewhere.