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Many Banks Merely Meeting Customer Expectations, Few Exceeding Them

According to Protiviti’s second annual Consumer Banking Survey, banks have ample room for improvement in managing the customer experience and, perhaps more importantly, in convincing consumers that they care about them. Specifically, the survey finds that 93 percent of banking customers believe that banks at least meet their expectations; however, if exceeding expectations and providing superior customer service is the goal, there is significant progress to be made because only 36 percent of consumers say their banks exceed expectations.

“For many consumers, a brand is equated with the customer’s experience,” said Atul Garg, a managing director in Protiviti’s business performance improvement practice. “Consumer banks are no longer squaring off solely against traditional industry opponents to attract and retain customers. They’re also contending with established consumer brands, emerging fintech players and others. Succeeding in this new competitive landscape requires a rigorous focus on customer care and a commitment, at every level of the organization, to finding ways to consistently exceed customer expectations.”

Protiviti surveyed more than 2,000 consumers in the United States, across a broad spectrum of age and income groups, about a range of customer experience issues, including preferred methods for interacting with banks, as well as perceptions about how financial institutions are meeting customer expectations and handling complaints.

The Banking Customer’s Experience – Do You Really Care Enough about Me?
Creating convenient, boundary-less banking capabilities for customers is increasingly important, but banks must not lose sight of what consumers also care about greatly: customer service. In today’s challenging environment, when it comes to addressing customer complaints, the issue is not whether or not banks care, but whether their customers perceive them to care enough about their problems and issues. Ultimately, such sentiments will drive customer and brand loyalty as emerging entrants continue to disrupt financial services.

One key finding of the Protiviti survey is that the prized segment of banking customers whose annual incomes top $200,000 are less likely to report that financial services companies exceed their expectations (30 percent) compared to all respondents (36 percent).

According to the survey, only one in three consumers thinks that their financial services company “absolutely cares” about their problem when they share a complaint; what may be even more telling is that nearly as many say their banks either do not care or are unsure if they care about the complaint. Only 36 percent of customers report that their bank responds every time with a resolution when they share a problem.

When it comes to making complaints, the survey results found that customers lean on tried-and-true methods to express them to their banks – consumers are most likely to log a complaint in the following manner:

  • Via phone (63 percent)
  • By visiting a branch (40 percent)
  • Using email (18 percent)

“While customer complaints represent a fact of life in the financial services industry, these problems also present prime opportunities to delight the customer,” said Jason Goldberg, a Protiviti director in the firm’s business performance improvement practice. “We’re finding that regulators increasingly review and act upon customer complaints, which means compliance executives should be as concerned as their marketing counterparts about the speed and compassion with which issues are resolved. Even though innovation in the banking experience is a key consideration for financial services organizations, customer service remains a fundamental tenet of the business and we don’t expect that to change.”

Multi-channel Banking: Popularity of Online and Mobile
Protiviti’s report also finds that, overall, 68 percent of consumers say self-service online and mobile channels make it easier for them to do business with their banks. Demographically, customers in the 21-29 and 30-39 age groups are far more likely to use mobile applications (66 percent and 60 percent, respectively), mobile web (33 percent and 32 percent) and online chat (15 percent and 11 percent) compared to customers aged 40 and higher.

Survey Report Available
A complimentary copy of Protiviti’s report, Getting to the Heart of Customer Experience – Insights from Protiviti’s Annual Consumer Banking Survey, is available for download at www.protiviti.com/consumerbanking along with an infographic.

About Protiviti
Protiviti is a global consulting firm that delivers deep expertise, objective insights, a tailored approach and unparalleled collaboration to help leaders face the future confidently. Through its network of more than 70 offices in over 20 countries, Protiviti and its independently owned Member Firms provide clients with consulting solutions in finance, technology, operations, data analytics, governance, risk and internal audit.

Protiviti has served more than 60 percent of Fortune 1000® and 35 percent of Fortune Global 500® companies. It also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies. Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half is a member of the S&P 500 index.

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