More still needs to be done to improve customer service at banks in the UAE, Ethos Consultancy said on Sunday after publishing its latest ratings.
Its annual Bank Benchmarking Index for service excellence showed that eight of last year's top 10 retained their positions out of the 23 banks in the research.
"Although there are some interesting changes at the top, overall the research does seem to suggest that many of the UAE's banks are still not focusing enough attention on customer service," Ethos said in a statement.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank scored highest overall, the index showed, improving on last year's third place.
Rakbank, the winners for the past five years, slipped to second position, with Dubai Bank third while Lloyds TSB won the top international bank award.
Robert Keay, managing director of Ethos, said: "Despite the economic position that continues to exist, some banks have been making investments in improving the level of service provision.
"However my over-riding concern is that the Index has improved because of the performance of less than 50 percent of the banks, while a number of the country's leading banks are not providing the level of service as those of their competitors and this will ultimately impact on their bottom line."
He said this was best shown by the results of the Call Centre measurement, which indicated that many of the country's leading banks still do not respond to customers within two working days, or even record incoming callers' details.
"This shortfall in the quality of service needs to be addressed especially as telephone banking is one of the most preferred channels for customers when dealing with their bank," he added.
Overall, 34 percent of respondents were extremely satisfied with bank services, 46 percent were satisfied, and 12 percent were neither satisfied not dissatisfied, while 7 percent were dissatisfied, and 1 percent extremely dissatisfied.
Regarding the call centre, 28 percent of respondents were extremely satisfied, 48 percent were satisfied, and 15 percent were neither satisfied not dissatisfied. However nine percent were either dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied.
The most improved bank category was won by Al Hilal Bank who jumped up to 12th overall from 18th.
The 2011 award winners:
Best Bank - Overall Performance: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Best Bank - Branch Performance: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Best Bank - Call Centre Performance: Dubai Bank
Best Bank - Website Performance: Commercial Bank Dubai
Best Islamic Bank: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Best international Bank: Lloyds TSB
Most improved Bank: Al Hilal Bank
Best Small Bank: Ajman Bank
Best Large Bank: Emirates NBD
The research was conducted during June and August, during which time Ethos researchers made 460 branch visits, 276 call centre calls and 184 website interactions.