When it comes to satisfaction, bank customer service has never been a leading industry — but it seems that banks are finally listening to customers and trying to meet their needs.
Large, institutional banks have experienced the biggest movement in positive reviews over the last few years; according to findings in J.D. Power & Associates’ 2013 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, retail banks overall saw an increase in bank customer service ratings of 10 points in 2013 over 2012, while big banks saw an even larger increase of 16 points.
Bank Customer Service Makes Up for Fees
Satisfaction has improved, in large part, because new financial regulations have stabilized bank fees, and customers now better understand how fees impact their individual transactions. But banks are still looking for ways to make more money with new products and services, as new financial regulations have made traditional banking products less profitable, according to a Business Insider report.
One way banks are making new fees more palatable is to give patrons the best customer service possible. By giving their customers top-notch service, banks can make up for other drawbacks.
“Research shows that great service can play a key role in customer retention,” said Paul Logan in an article on American Banker. In light of fees, banks can still mitigate customer dissatisfaction with exemplary service that solves their problems. Logan said that the best bank customer service can “positively affect a bank’s business and its bottom line.”
5 Banks With Top-Notch Customer Service
Here are five banks that provide rave-worthy customer service.
1. Ally Bank
As an online bank, Ally’s primary appeal is convenience and high savings account rates. However, the bank takes its service to the next level by ensuring customers are well taken care of through personal and technologically advanced service. Last year, Ally Bank won two Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service: the Innovation in Customer Service Award and the e-Commerce Customer Service Award, and was honored this year in the categories of Best Use of Technology in Customer Service Award – Banking; the Innovation in Customer Service Award – Financial Services Industries; and the Customer Service Training Team of the Year Award – Financial Services & Insurance.
Reviews on Moneyning.com and CreditKarma.com are glowing — one reviewer wrote, “I have recently signed up with Ally and have gotten nothing but the greatest of service, be if from calling in to their online chat. They have the best rates out there for savings and checking, as well as the lowest fees if you have to early terminate a CD or money market account in comparison to my prior bank Watch-over-ya/Unwells Fargo. Keep up the great work Ally.”
2. Capital One 360
Capital One 360 was spotlighted by MyBankTracker for great bank customer service. With four out of five stars in the “Overall” category, user Mike37909 gave Capital One 360 kudos for top-notch customer service:
“Customer Support is amazing. Kid Friendly.
“Kids and Teen Accounts: This is one area that capital one 360 really shines,” he said of the online bank’s commitment to teach children financial literacy. “Their accounts for kids and teens give the parents 100 percent control over the account while also teaching the young ones how to manage money. Your kids will even have their own login information.”
3. Hudson City Savings Bank
Located in Paramus, N.J., Hudson City Savings Bank scored an astounding 812 out of 1,000 points in the J. D. Power & Associates’ study. MyBankTracker user Sallijane recommended this bank’s customer service for peace of mind: “Helpful; traditional bank, not involved in all the tbtf [too big to fail] -style problems.”
This might not be traditional customer service, but according to U.S. News & World Reports, all deposits in a too-big-to-fail bank will likely be inaccessible during a bank failure. Deposit security is a sign of bank customer satisfaction, echoed by this user.
Jan Jahosky, a representative for the bank, explained what separates SmarterBank from the rest: “SmarterBank is straightforward and transparent about [its] fees.” The SmarterBank staff fully explains bank fees to customers so they know what to expect, and will even show customers how they can bank to minimize or completely avoid them.
Customers recognize SmarterBank’s efforts to deliver the best customer service experience.
“SmarterBank is always trying to improve [its] service as well by asking [its] customers what they want and then putting together an action plan to make it happen,” said Heather Dino, a SmarterBank customer.
Dino referred to multiple checking account deposit options as her favorite feature.
SmarterBank also offers a plethora of rewards and customer-only benefits. Customers enjoy exclusive shopping offers, purchase-based rewards and even an easy way to help indebted students pay off loans.
Consistency is key in bank customer satisfaction. Jdibella, a MyBankTracker user, had a positive experience with EverBank from first contact. From the bank’s online chat feature, to having an informed and business-friendly staff member detailing all of Everbank’s features, everything Jdibella experienced was fast, friendly and efficient.
“Every phone call has ended in a resolution to a problem,” Jdibella wrote. “The online banking layout and smartphone app get the job done.”
With little to complain about, this customer had no problem recommending EverBank to anyone looking to escape other banks’ fees.
While no bank is perfect, there are still many banks that have rave-worthy banking customer service.
Photo credit: UNU-WIDER