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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow General Finance arrow Small Businesses Say Bank Service is Improving - But Providers Still Have To Do More
Small Businesses Say Bank Service is Improving - But Providers Still Have To Do More PDF Print E-mail
Written by TNS   
08 May 2005
London, 9thMay 2005. A sizeable proportion of small and middle-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Britain believes that the quality of service provided by their main bank over the past 12 months has improved, according to the findings of a survey published today by a leading global provider of market information, TNS.

Some 17 per cent of SMEs claim that the quality of service they received from their bank during 2004 had improved.? The TNS research also reveals that some 70 per cent of SME customers would recommend their bank (44 per cent ‘definitely recommend’, 26 per cent ‘probably recommend’).? This is an improvement of three percentage points on the findings for 2002, when 67 per cent of respondents said they would recommend their bank to another SME customer.?

At the same time, the proportion of customers saying they are ‘very likely to consider leaving their main bank’ increased by two per cent in 2004 compared with the previous year.?? However, over 2004the proportion of SME customers actually switching banks in the last 12 months was three per cent, unchanged from 2003.? The main reasons for switching banks were given as ‘poor service’ (32 per cent of respondents),and ‘charges’ (26 per cent).? This represents an improvement in service levels, but a change in priorities from 2003 when charges were cited by 38 per cent of respondents, and poor service, 36 per cent.

“Quality of service has now overtaken charges as the main reason for small businesses’ switching provider,” said Rosemary Bayman, Managing Consultant of Financial & Professional Services, TNS.? “However, providers are responding to this by making service improvements, and this does appear to be feeding through into perceptions.

“The key drivers of customer retention in this market are accuracy and efficiency of service, coupled with a good branch service and a good quality customer contact who really understands the needs of the business.? The main providers are now getting the basics right, but need to work more on going the extra mile in terms of
empathy and flexibility,” Bayman added.

The findings suggest that banks may be starting to turn around the low point in customer satisfaction which they experienced during 2002 in the wake of the findings of the Competition Commission, which highlighted restricted choice for customers and high charges imposed by banks.

“These findings should offer some encouragement to the banks,” Bayman continued.? “Importantly, customers believe that service levels are improving as banks do more to build customer loyalty and reverse the pattern of poor customer service which has characterised the financial services market for SMEs in the past. However, this has
been coupledwith increased expectations as small business customers take a more active role in the management of their own finances, and expect a higher quality service as a result.?

“The key question is, will the greater choice offered to small business owners and their potentially greater expectations actually lead to an increase in switching?? Certainly, banks can no longer rely on apathy or inertia which has traditionally stopped customers looking elsewhere for better deals,” Bayman concluded.? “The plus side for the banks from this research is that ultimately, improved service levels will lead to increased customer commitment and, in turn, higher retention rates and the ability for banks to sell customers a wider range of services in the future.”

The research was undertaken by TNS Financial & Professional Services among a sample of 4,253 small businesses (turnover of up to ?1 million) across Great Britain in four waves during 2004. The research used a 25-minute structured telephone interview with quotas imposed on company size and region.?

About TNS Financial & Professional Services
With over 25 full time executives, TNS Financial & Professional Services is one of the leading providers of research and consultancy in the financial arena, working with some of the UK’s leading financial and professional institutions.?? Over the past 25 years, the group has conducted a wide range of individually commissioned and multi-client studies in retail and business banking, channels, mortgages, life, pensions, investments, credit cards, general insurance, tax, law, consultancy and other financial and professional service markets.? With a combination of proprietary market data, tailored research tools and professionals with depth and breadth of experience in the financial sector, TNS Financial & Professional Services provides clients with the insight to make business-critical decisions with confidence.

About TNS
TNS is a market information group. We are the world’s largest custom research company and a leading provider of social and political polling. We are also a major supplier of consumer panel, TV audience measurement and media intelligence services. TNS operates a global network spanning 70 countries and employs over 13,000 people. We
provide market information and measurement, together with insights and analysis, to local and multinational organisations.? Wecombine our specialist sector knowledge with expertise in the areas of new product
development, motivational research, brand andadvertising research and stakeholder management to bring our clients up-to-the minute, internationally consistent information. Wethink differently to help our clients build competitive advantage, making TNS the sixth sense of business.

For more information please contact:

Rosemary Bayman, Managing Consultant, TNS Financial & Professional Services
Tel: 020 7891 1169 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Rachel Argyle, Senior UK PR Executive, TNS
Tel: 020 8967 1415 / 07903 556 365 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Paul Stelmaszczyk / Liz Kearney, Camargue
Tel: 020 7636 7366 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last Updated ( 03 Aug 2005 )
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