Financial Services Failing to ‘Treat Customers Fairly’, Report Finds

March 8, 20194min

Over half (52 percent) of financial services customers feel firms treat consumers unfairly, according to new research.

A new report by Voice of the Customer (VoC) pioneers Maru/edr is based on a study into customer treatment in the financial services industry, which interviewed 1,000 independent customers who held at least once financial product in the UK in the last 12 months.

 The study tested key components of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) policy by questioning respondents about their perceptions and experiences of financial service providers. The TCF initiative requires brands to consistently demonstrate that fair treatment is part of their business culture – and suggests customer feedback is one of the most effective and efficient ways of doing this.

The study reveals that 62 percent of finance customers were aware of the FCA’s fair treatment policy. Despite this, findings illustrate that financial services firms are failing to capture feedback – and therefore demonstrate fair treatment – from 17 million customers every year. The report found:

  • 84 percent of customers who hold at least one finance product would willing to give feedback to their bank or financial services provider if given the opportunity – yet less half (45 percent) had been invited to partake in research within the past twelve months.
  • Just 30 percent of UK consumers currently rate the communications they receive from their financial services provider as highly with under half (48 percent) stating that they felt communication held a relevant, personal appeal to them. Under half (47 percent) of financial services customers also believed they currently receive the right amount of communication from their financial service provider(s).
  • Encouragingly however, almost three quarters of respondents (70 percent) felt communication from their existing finance provider was at least clear. It marks a significant shift for the industry – just three years ago, the FCA urged finance firms to stop using excessively complicated language in a bid to reduce customer complaints.

Steve Brockway, Chief Research Officer at Maru/edr, said: “Customer feedback is vital for brands looking to protect and grow their market share. Yet for financial brands, customer feedback holds even more value in both improving services and demonstrating FCA compliance.

“There’s clearly an appetite from customers to have their voices heard – the growth of review sites is testament to the expanding feedback culture we now live in. But financial services brands are clearly currently missing a huge opportunity leaving customers feeling unfairly treated.”

Paul Ainsworth

Paul Ainsworth

Experienced Irish journalist and former newspaper editor now helming executive editorial duties with Customer Experience Magazine, the UK's premier online source for Customer Experience news, features, and opinion, along with its sister site, CXM World.

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