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Global Survey Shows Many Consumers Feel Undervalued by Their Bank

Banks can close the customer experience gap with banking services the consumer wants

Almost half of consumers in the U.S., Great Britain (GB), Germany and France feel their bank does not value them as a customer (48 percent), according to new Ipsos MORI research commissioned by GMC Software Technology. Consumers want to decide how they bank, with almost three quarters wanting to request the format in which they receive information from their bank (72 percent) and also at a time that suits them (74 percent). Banks therefore need to listen to consumers to deliver the services they need. However, only 19 percent of consumers really believe banks understand how to deliver good customer experience.

The research of 4,032 consumers looked at what consumers really think about their bank’s customer experience and how they are valued. It offers insight into how banks can improve their relationship with customers by listening and providing the right information, at the right time, via the right, optimized channel with a particular focus on online and mobile.

Improving the customer experience

Just 27 percent of consumers in the U.S. believe that their bank really values them as a customer. And elsewhere, the banking industry does not fare much better with six percent in France, ten percent in GB and 20 percent in Germany.

In order to improve the banking customer experience, the top three points for U.S. consumers are friendly and knowledgeable staff (60 percent); enabling customers to bank when and how they want (45 percent); easy access to the branch (49 percent).

Bill Parker, chief marketing officer, GMC Software Technology said: “It’s time the banks started to show that they value their customers by listening and allowing customers to be involved in decisions that affect the banking experience. Banks should provide multiple channels of communication, but they should ask consumers which ones they want to use, not tell them.”

Constraints of online and mobile banking

The demand for online banking is increasingly obvious. Online-only is already the most common way to view bank statements (36 percent of all bank customers have online-only statements) and not just amongst Generation Y. It is important not to assume that online/mobile banking channels are the preserve of the young. For example, all age groups are using online-only statements. Of the under 31 year olds (Gen Y), 37 percent use online-only statements as are 33 percent of the 55-70 year olds.

However, current online and mobile banking services have considerable constraints. Two thirds (65 percent) do not believe their online banking delivers an effective level of customer service, while just three in 10 (29 percent) feel it is truly interactive i.e. you can present your bank data in any way you want or link back to your bank with questions. Mobile banking fares little better, with only 23 percent of banking customers finding the service satisfactory. The nature of both online and mobile lend themselves to a more dynamic, interactive relationship with the consumer rather than presenting static content that could, just as easily, be sent by mail.

The mass adoption of online statements is driven by customers appreciating its convenience (80 percent), environmental benefits (71 percent) and increased security compared to paper (39 percent). Revealing the level of skepticism towards banks, 67 percent of bank customers suspect banks are pushing online statements in order to save money.

“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. It is now time to close the customer experience gap. The research reveals 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 with each customer through the optimized channel that each customer chooses,” continues Parker.

Consumers managing money more effectively

Despite the lack of interactivity, online statements clearly encourage customers to manage their money more effectively. Two thirds (66 percent) of those who use online statements view them at least once a week. Of those using statements on a mobile device, 61 percent view them at least once a week. In sharp contrast, of those who rely on printed statements, 58 percent view their bank statement only once a month.

With online being the most popular way to view bank statements, and viewed more frequently, the rise of consumer technology seems to be improving the nation’s ability to manage its money.

Download the report ‘End of the banking autocracy: why banks must understand value and bring back trust’ here.

The research was conducted on i:omnibus, Ipsos MORI’s online omnibus, in GB, France, U.S. and Germany between October 25 – 30, 2013.

Questions were asked online of 1,018 GB adults aged 16-75, 1,004 French adults aged 16-74, 1,000 US adults aged 18-75 and 1,010 German adults aged 16 to 70 (total 4,032 consumers).

To be nationally representative, the survey data was weighted by age, gender, region, working status and main shopper in GB; age, gender, region, working status, main shopper, social grade and working status in France; age, gender, region, working status, working status and income in the U.S.; and age, gender, region, working status, household size, employment status, main shopper and size of town in Germany.