Consumers Say Banks Put Lip in Their Service

Over half of all consumers feel undervalued by their banks. Financial institutions must close the customer experience gap with friendly, knowledgeable staff and banking services that consumers demand.

Almost half of consumers in the US, Great Britain, Germany and France feel their bank does not value them as a customer, according to research from Ipsos MORI commissioned by GMC Software Technology. The research of 4,032 consumers across the four countries looked at what consumers really think about their banks’ customer experience and how they are valued.

A mere 27% of consumers in the U.S. believe that their bank really values them as a customer, but the banking industry elsewhere around the world doesn’t fare any better. In Germany, 20% of banking consumers feel valued. In Great Britain, the number plunges to only 10%. And in France, it’s a miserable 6%. That means you’d have to talk to 17 people in France before you’d find one that felt valued by their bank — c’est pathétique!

Four out of five consumers have little faith the banking industry even possesses the capacity to take care of them. Indeed, only 19% of consumers believe banks truly understand how to deliver a good customer experience.

Improving the Customer Experience

To further improve the banking customer experience, researchers say the top three hot-buttons for consumers are:

  • being able to bank when and how they want (49%)
  • friendly and knowledgeable staff (45%)
  • easy access to the branch (39%)

Yes, that’s right folks… yet another study (this one from a software and technology company) saying that branch convenience is still super important to consumers.

Read More: Consumers’ Addiction to Branch Banking Hard to Shake

Almost three quarters of consumers want banks to ask them which format in which they’d like to receive information (72%), as well as what time they’d like to receive it (74%).

“Banks should provide multiple channels of communication, but they should ask consumers which ones they want to use, not tell them,” notes Mike Davies, Vice President EMEA North, GMC Software Technology. “It’s time banks started to show that they value their customers by listening and allowing customers to be involved in decisions that affect the banking experience.”

Constraints of Online & Mobile Banking

The nature of both online and mobile channels lend themselves to a more dynamic, interactive relationship with consumers rather than presenting static content that could, just as easily, be sent through the mail. However, current online and mobile banking services have considerable constraints.

Two thirds (65%) do not believe their online banking delivers an effective level of customer service, while just a third (32%) feel it is truly interactive (i.e. they can customize how their banking data is presented, or digitally contact their bank with questions).

Mobile banking is doing even worse. Only 16% of consumers consider their mobile banking service satisfactory.

The mass adoption of online statements is driven by customers appreciating its convenience (80%), environmental benefits (67%) and increased security compared to paper (45%).

Davies says the research proves that there is a time and place for each channel, and banks need to adopt the technologies and strategies that will help them engage effectively channels optimized for each consumer.

“The number of ways by which a consumer can interact with their bank is increasing, with traditional bricks and mortar giving way to call centers, internet and mobile banking as well as social media,” explains Davies. “It is now time to close the customer experience gap.”

Read More: Mobile Channels Are Turning Financial Marketing Upside Down

At Least Consumers Appreciate eStatements

Online-only is already the most common way most consumers view their bank statements — 36% of all bank customers have online-only statements — and this trend extends way beyond just Gen-Y. In the 25-34 age group (Gen Y), 41% use online-only statements while conversely 42% of 55-70 year olds do the same.

However, revealing the level of skepticism towards banks, 73% of bank customers suspect banks are pushing online statements in order to save money.

Two thirds (67%) of those who use online statements view them at least once a week. Of those using statements on a mobile device, 54% view them at least once a week. In sharp contrast, of those who rely on printed statements, 64% view their bank statement only once a month. Many probably never look at their printed statements.

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