Yet another survey is highlighting the dissatisfaction levels of customers with their banks and urging the institutions to finally get the message: listen to your customer and enhance your service and product offering.
This time, a survey by global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company Accenture focused on the UK and Ireland, home to banking heavy-weights Barclays, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland – and the results are nothing new, actually:
The gist was that UK and Irish banks continue to dissatisfy their customers, with almost a fifth of retail banking customers (17%) reporting a complaint in 2010, compared with 14% in 2007.
Other key findings included:
- Less than half (46%) of retail banking customers said they were likely to purchase their next financial product from their current bank – a drop of 20 percentage points from the conclusions in the 2007 survey;
- The percentage of customers who had purchases a financial product from their current bank dropped from 29% in 2007 to 22% in 2010;
- One in five complaints were handled poorly;
- Customers aged between 18 to 24 years were 50% more likely to switch banks;
- Younger customers were also 30% less likely to complain – suggesting that they do not hesitate to switch banks when they are dissatisfied;
- Satisfaction levels also fell, from 84% in 2007 to 73%, and
- While recommendation levels declined from 64% to 58%.
Accenture also found that one bank recorded complaints from a third of its customer base in the year to end-2010.
The percentage of customers switching their banks also increased, albeit marginally in comparison to the above levels:
16% of customers switched banks in 2010, compared with 14% in 2007; and 14% said that they were planning to switch in the next 12 months, an increase of just 1 percentage over the three-year period to end-2010.
Same old recommendation: “listen to your customers”
Accenture’s recommendations for banks to enhance satisfaction levels were the same words the financial industry has been hearing since the onset of the financial crisis:
“Banks must stop and listen to their customers or they risk losing them to new entrants and other competitors,” said Peter Kirk, senior executive in Accenture’s Financial Services practice, who is also author of the research.
Another recommendations banks have been hearing a lot of was that they need to find the balance between offering generation-specific products and services to retain customers.