Posted: 9th September 2010

Banking on good customer service? Metro Bank is!

Can a bank compete on customer service alone? That’s what Metro Bank are pinning their business model on, with their slogan ‘Love your bank at last’ making a pointed dig at the recent bad press the banking industry has received due to sub-standard customer service.

Their interest rates are higher than average compared to others in the sector, but Vernon Hill, cofounder of Metro Bank, is confident that the enhanced customer service that is offered by Metro Bank staff can offset this. Is he correct? Are customers switching on to this? Looks that way from a recent article on the Daily Mail entitled – Metro Bank works magic on customers.

Vernon Hill says in a recent Director Magazine article “Customer satisfaction numbers in Britain are so poor; most major banks have failed and the level of service on the consumer side and the small-business lending side is awful.”

Open 7 days a week, with extended opening hours and friendly customer service, are such things enough to persuade the bank customer to change provider? Will other organisations in the financial sector follow suit? There has already been an upsurge in new entrants to the market such as the emergence of Virgin Money and Tesco Bank.

Is it surprising that Metro are focusing on the London market first, where people are generally very time sensitive, demanding and want to be dealt with quickly and efficiently? With targets of 15 minutes to set up a bank account Metro Bank may seem right up their street! Plus conveniently located on the high street, and open on a Sunday!

Unlike the telecoms sector, customers seldom change their bank. Steve Davies, retail banking partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers emphasised this:  “The rate at which customers change banks is very low; most studies show that under 10 per cent of customers do so.”

In summary, Metro Bank illustrates that companies are switching on to the fact that they have to enhance the customer experience in order to build loyalty and retain customers. However, the main question on everyone’s lips is – can exceptional customer service on its own be enough?

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