A report released by the
consultants Accenture has concluded that retail banks in the UK and
Ireland have upped their customer service performance.

Accenture surveyed
almost 4,000 current account customers in the UK and Ireland for
the report. Findings included:

  • Customer complaints made directly to the
    banks fell from 18% in 2010 to 14% in 2011;
  • More customers were satisfied with their
    bank’s complaint handling process (up from 34% in 2010 to 39% last
    year, and
  •  Some complaints were resolved
    immediately (30%) or within a week (28%), but as many as 21% took a
    month, 15% took three months and some (5%) even six

As a result of their
complaint experience, 20% of customers switched or plan to switch
to another provider, 41% indicated that they didn’t take any
action, and 48% vented their frustrations with the complaint
handling process at their friends and family, while 8% did the same
via social networking sites.

Peter Kirk, author of
the research, and head of Accenture Banking Distribution and
Marketing Services in the UK and Ireland, said:

“These results show that
banks’ efforts to fix underlying service issues and engage better
with their customers are working but there is still a large number
of customers lodging complaints and there is much room for
improvement in the complaint handling process.

“It is essential that
the banks improve the way they handle complaints because customers
today are much less loyal and their expectations continue to