Skipton retains Customer First Standard

The standard, awarded by York-based Customer First UK Ltd, recognises excellent customer service delivered through an understanding of customer needs and the appropriate staff development. In seeking Putting The Customer First accreditation, Skipton Building Society was assessed against 32 statements covering customer relationships, market awareness and people.

A review of Skipton Building Society's customer service has just been completed by Customer First UK Ltd after the society first gained the standard in 2006. The new report said:

There is an incredibly strong and consistent feeling of pride amongst the Society's staff

The Society's "Famous" Values* have clearly helped ingrain a culture of service

People love working for Skipton Building Society

An improvement in many areas since the last visit with special reference to the Contact Centre

Some exemplary examples of customer relationship building especially in the Intermediary Sales team

Branches maintain a very 'special' personal touch

The breadth and quality of training is excellent and people feel supported in their development

The Society has taken a huge strides forward since the last assessment, having a customer service culture which should be preserved

Achieving the standard is a reflection of the society's core values and a strategy which focuses on ‘financial strength', ‘a great place to work' and ‘customers love us'*. Achieving Putting The Customer First is a way of demonstrating Skipton's commitment to ‘Treating Customers Fairly' (TCF) to the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Mark Smitheringale, general manager - operations at Skipton Building Society, commented: "We are delighted to have achieved Customer First standard for a second time. This recognises our ongoing commitment to delivering excellent service for our members, through a process of learning and developing our people.

"Building societies have always had a reputation for looking after their members. Gaining a standard such as this, demonstrates that Skipton Building Society has lost none of its desire to maintain that reputation."

Frea O'Brien, Customer First UK general manager, said: "These are tough times for UK businesses, particularly those in financial services but forward-looking organisation such as Skipton Building Society are recognisng the importance of achieving Putting The Customer First.

"All customers have a choice over where they place their business or investments. Skipton Building Society's achievement of Putting the Customer First means that its customers can be sure that they will receive a service delivered by motivated staff who are continuously striving to exceed expectations."