Magazine article Management Today

2002 SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARDS: Overall Winner - Nationwide Building Society and Winner, Financial Services

Magazine article Management Today

2002 SERVICE EXCELLENCE AWARDS: Overall Winner - Nationwide Building Society and Winner, Financial Services

Article excerpt

Not every financial services organisation springs to mind as a champion of customer service. But Nationwide Building Society is so clearly focused on its customers in everything it does that it was a clear winner of not just its own category but of the overall awards, too.

Since winning the Financial Services award two years ago, the country's largest building society has sharpened its approach, learning from the feedback and becoming even more passionate about equipping its 13,000 staff to deliver exemplary service to its 10.5 million customers - who are also, thanks to Nationwide's mutual status, its members.

Indeed, like the Yorkshire Building Society, which also featured strongly in this year's awards, the Nationwide believes that remaining mutual offers a real boost to customer service, since the whole focus of the business is returning value to members rather than satisfying outside shareholders. The organisation says that over the past five years it has returned more than pounds 1.4 billion in value through better rates and fewer charges.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, but still remarkably in this industry, 91% of customers said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service, with 68% of active customers recommending the organisation to others.

Nationwide has recently attracted adverse press comment over the departure of former chief executive Brian Davis in the wake of a mortgage strategy that started a price war. But it insists its longer-term policy will be vindicated.

In the meantime, Philip Williamson, chief executive since January, is instilling a new sense of energy into an organisation that had already acquired a formidable reputation as one of Britain's best places to work. One of his key aims is to make Nationwide employees' friends and neighbours jealous of their jobs. …

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