During the recent global recession, customer trust in the financial industry was at an all-time low. However, the 2014 UK Customer Experience Excellence (UKCEE) report shows that financial services have mounted a recovery to become this year’s biggest climbers when it comes to providing excellence in customer experience.

The 2014 UK CEE report, by customer experience management specialists Nunwood, ranks the UK’s top brands by the customer experience they provide and shows the financial sector has improved more than any other industry, with 31 of 42 financial brands surveyed moving up the rankings.

First Direct is leading the way this year in first place overall, standing out for demonstrating empathy and its approach to resolution. Consumers praised the seamless service across online and telephony.

Karen Walker, Customer Services Director at first direct commented. “I would say we’re obsessed with delivering amazing customer service and we recognise that it’s important to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. To that end we always recruit positive attitudes – it’s easier to teach people banking skills than to try and change someone’s personality.”

“However, you can recruit all the right people and train them diligently, but if you don’t free them to go above and beyond for the customer you’re not using them effectively, which is why we avoid scripting as much as possible and empower our people to resolve an issue first time.”

Another success story is Nationwide Building Society, which followed its 26 place rise in 2013 by moving up a further 18 places to boast the eighth best customer experience of any brand in the UK during 2014. According to Nunwood’s respondents, it is the Nationwide people that make the difference. Friendly, helpful and willing to personally resolve issues, it is at the cusp of staff and customer interaction that Nationwide’s magic occurs.

Now in its fifth year, Nunwood’s Customer Experience Excellence survey is one of the largest, most robust customer experience surveys in the world.

Its findings are based on 7,500 individual responses, talking across 260 UK brands. Most importantly, each response is based on feedback from actual customers.

Below is a list of the financial services brands in the top 100.

financial services brands in the top 100

Smaller financial services brands have also performed well. For example, Skipton Building Society moved up 23 places into 13th especially following it’s 2013 performance where it entered the survey for the first time in at 36th place.

Ian Cornelius, Skipton’s Commercial Director commented, “Last year was the first time we had appeared in the report so it is very pleasing to have made this massive leap for 2014.”

M&S Bank and Sainsbury’s Bank also made the top 20. What’s more, five out of the top eight of 2014’s biggest growers are from the financial services sector, demonstrating that many brands are rapidly improving the service they offer.

financial services brands

The move by financial services brands is an interesting one, as it seems that more and more are turning to customer experience to differentiate themselves from their competitors – a smart move when you consider that none of the big four UK banks feature in the top 100.

To explore the 2014 UK Customer Experience Excellence Results in depth see here.

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