Jim S Miller

Thoughts on the Client Experience and Banking

Customer Experience Opening Bank Accounts: 25% of Customers Already Likely to Switch Banks

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Overview

Prime Performance surveyed 1,340 customers who opened a new account within the last month to help understand what drives satisfaction. This report is based on the Prime Performance 2010 Bank & Credit Union Survey and shows scores for credit unions, small banks with less than 300 branches, large banks with 300 or more branches, and three mega-banks; Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

Overall Satisfaction with Service

Overall, 72% of customers said they were satisfied with the service they received while opening a new bank account and 5% said they were dissatisfied (23% were indifferent), resulting in a net satisfaction score of 67%.  This is 20 points lower than the net satisfaction score of 87% for teller transactions.  (The complete findings from the Customer Experience with Bank Teller Transactions: Fast and Friendly Drives Customer Satisfaction study.)

Credit unions lead in overall satisfaction with 88% of their members reporting they were satisfied with the service they received while opening a new account and 2% were dissatisfied. Chase’s customers reported the lowest scores with 64% of customers satisfied and 8% dissatisfied. After opening a new bank account, 68% of customers claim they are likely to recommend their bank to friends or family and 5% are unlikely to do so. Industry-wide, 45% of customers believe that their bank does what is in the customer’s best interest and small banks, large banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo all fall within one point of the average.  Credit unions fair considerably better with 58% of members believing their credit union is looking out for their best interest, while Chase scored lowest at 37%.

Likely to Switch Banks

One-quarter of all customers who recently opened a new bank account already say they are likely to switch banks in the next 12 months and only one-half say they are unlikely to switch banks in the next 12 months.  This should give all bankers concern about what customers are experiencing when they open a new account. The relationship with the customer is not getting off to a great start. Bankers need to spend more time asking questions about financial needs, recommending appropriate financial products/services and helping customers understand the features and benefits of the account they are opening.

Value Customers’ Time

Customers value their own time and expect the bank to do the same.  Overall, 87% believe representatives value their time.  When their time is valued, 78% of customers are satisfied with their experience and 2% are dissatisfied.  When customers feel their time is not valued, only 26% are satisfied and 30% are dissatisfied (a 15 times increase in dissatisfied customers).  It is hard to recover from an unacceptable wait time.  When the wait time is acceptable, 75% of customers are satisfied with their overall experience and 3% are dissatisfied.  When wait time is not acceptable, 30% are satisfied and 37% are dissatisfied with the service they received.

Friendly Service

Friendly representatives lead to satisfied customers.  When the representative was friendly, 76% of customers were satisfied and only 3% dissatisfied, resulting in a net score of 73%.  When the representative was not friendly, the net score dropped 68% to only 5%, with 32% of customers satisfied and 27% dissatisfied. How do representatives show they are friendly? Simply thanking the customer for their business is vital. The net satisfaction score is 73% when the customer is thanked, but drops to 18% when not thanked.  77% of customers were satisfied and 3% dissatisfied when the representative stood and introduced himself/herself by name.  When this did not occur, only 54% were satisfied and 11% dissatisfied. Other factors that show “friendliness” and drive satisfaction; greeting the customer immediately upon entering the lobby, using the customer’s name, and asking “Is there anything else I can help you with?

 Sales Skills

Customers expect their bankers to be knowledgeable about products and services.  Overall, 91% of customers said their representative was knowledgeable, resulting in a net satisfaction score of 74%.  When they felt the representative was not knowledgeable, the net satisfaction score dropped 79 points to -5%. Customers expect representatives to explain things in a way that is easy to understand.  When representatives do this, the net satisfaction score is 73%, but when this is not true, it drops 61 points to only 12%.  During the account opening process, only 74% of customers report that they were asked questions about their financial needs.  Additionally, only 71% of customers recall the representative recommending any additional products or services.  By neglecting to ask questions and recommend additional products and services, banks are not only missing out on increasing sales and revenue, but also an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction.

Genuine

All the behaviors must be genuine. 88% of customers claimed the representative was genuinely interested in helping them. When this occurred, 79% of customers were satisfied with the experience and only 2% were dissatisfied. When they felt the representative was not genuinely interested in helping, 23% of customers were satisfied and 25% dissatisfied.

Conclusion

Customers are looking for more than just the products and services offered. They care about the way they are treated. They want to deal with companies they can trust, who care about their financial needs, and ones that have friendly and knowledgeable employees. Training, coaching and measurement are the keys to consistently delivering a superior client experience.

For a complimentary copy of all findings from the Customer Experience Opening Bank Accounts study

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