October 10, 2006 at 07:00 AM EDT
Washington Mutual Leads in VocaLabs Satisfaction Study of Retail Banking

Vocal Laboratories Inc. (www.vocalabs.com) today announced the results of its latest SectorPulse study on the quality of telephone based customer service among five financial services companies for the second and third quarters of 2006. Washington Mutual was the only entity to earn an A rating in overall customer satisfaction, up from a B in the previous study, and advancing from a C to B in the percentage of callers able to complete their business with a single call.

While not a direct competitor to traditional banks, PayPal, a subsidiary of e-Bay (NASDAQ:EBAY), processes millions of online financial transactions each year, and was in second place with a B in both satisfaction and single call completion. Wells Fargo also earned a B in caller satisfaction, but slipped from a C to a D in call completion. Citibank improved from a D to a C in caller satisfaction, but dropped from C to D in completion. Bank of America dropped from C to D in satisfaction, and remained at a D in call completion. Data gathered from Wachovia customers was of insufficient quantity for the issuance of letter grades.

This study focused on Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Citibank (NYSE:C), PayPal, and Wachovia (NYSE:WB)

VocaLabs CEO Peter Leppik comments: "In addition to measuring overall caller satisfaction and the percentage of customers able to complete their business with a single contact; we also track customer loyalty, the percentage of calls handled entirely by automated services, caller frustration, and average call length. Reviewing these measurements in combination reveals some significant surprises. For example, there is no consistent correlation between calls handled by automation and customer satisfaction, frustration or loyalty scores. This suggests that it is not self service technology per se that banking customers object to, but instead, poor implementation of that technology.

To learn more, visit www.vocalabs.com. An Executive Summary and complete SectorPulse-Financial data reports are available by subscription. Contact Rick Rappe' at rrappe@vocalabs.com.

About SectorPulse

VocaLabs' SectorPulse reports compare the customer service quality for different companies in the same industry, using survey feedback from the companies' customers.

VocaLabs has recruited over 80,000 individuals to provide feedback on customer service experiences, from which we drew the participants for this study. VocaLabs panelists who are customers of one of the companies included in this study were asked to participate by having their customer service calls tracked and completing surveys before and immediately after the call.

About Vocal Laboratories

Vocal Laboratories delivers statistically reliable feedback on the user friendliness of telephone based customer service whether delivered via traditional call centers or self-service technology. Clients are end user enterprises, market researchers, call center consultants, application providers and equipment vendors. VocaLabs' methodology results in highly accurate data on both technical performance and the impact of service on caller opinions.

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