Customer service at banks is second only to that offered by e-retailers according to KPMG’s Customer Experience Barometer. Among the sectors polled, banks scored the second highest level of customer experience at 40%, compared with e-retailers at 45%, general insurers 38%, life insurers 34% and utilities at 31%.
The report - an analysis of 5,000 responses from customers across 160 leading banks, general and life insurers, telecommunications and utilities companies in the US, UK, Germany, China and Australia - also found that customers were more likely to recommend their bank than any of their other services providers.
Mark Guinibert, UK banking partner at KPMG, commented: “This report highlights that the customer has vaulted up the banking agenda with banks implementing measures that aim to put the customer at the heart of their business. This is a positive sign, but if bank leaders are really serious about differentiating themselves on customer service grounds and rebuilding trust, they need to increase their investment and learn from other industries.
“Few financial services businesses – if any – have attained anywhere near the brand awareness and loyalty achieved by their retailing peers. In today’s market, banking customers aren’t just comparing banks with other banks; they are judging their banking experience against their Amazon shopping experience or their latest experience at John Lewis.
“A key lesson banks can learn from e-retailers is that technology is key, and as customers become more comfortable with digital channels, their satisfaction levels increase as well. Innovation is essential. The most successful organisations consistently invest in improving their customer experience and it is evident that digital technology will continue to transform the banking sector.”
The report reveals that Australian and German banks currently lead the way with satisfaction scores at 43% while UK banks appear to be some way behind at 35%.
David Sayer, global head of banking at KPMG, commented: “Given the reputation of the UK’s banking sector has been damaged by mis-selling scandals, it is unsurprising that the UK lags behind other regions. But we need to take on board lessons from other regions such as Australia, where many banks have invested heavily in upgrading their systems and are increasingly better understanding their customers through stronger data and analytics. The customer experience is now the lens through which Australian banks view their business decisions, whether it is the launch of a new product or the implementation of a new system. The aim is to use data to serve a mass customer base with the same intimacy that smaller community banks achieve face to face.”
Chinese respondents were strikingly complimentary about the performance of their banks with almost half (46%) saying that their experience had improved; a score 20 percentage points above the all sector global average and almost 30 percentage points above similar results in the UK.
David Sayer continued: “Much has changed over the past five years in China – the rise of China’s social media, the liberalisation of the economy, the rapid adoption of digital channels and the introduction of new concepts from the West – and this has had a dramatic impact on the customer experience in the country.”
The report also highlights that while investment in technology is critical, those heading down the road of automation and online services need to ensure that each and every customer interaction that underpins those services is up to scratch.
David Sayer concluded: “The human face of an organisation is still incredibly important. Banks will still be measured by the quality of their people and it is imperative that banks employ staff who promote trust, are knowledgeable and deliver consistently outstanding service. Some are already using Skype and other services to maximise technology, data and people to provide service to customers where and when they want it.”
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Notes to editors:
Full report available on request.
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