Bank technology has been introduced across the globe in the last few years, and it seems that the banks which are embracing this technology have gained numerous digital only customers. The fallback here, however, looks like some new research shows that this move toward bank technology frustrates customers and directly affects their satisfaction levels, per the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.
This study goes on to show that only 28% of customers are digital only due to this new bank technology, however, this percentage of people are also the least satisfied amongst the overall consumer base.
Consumer Affairs reports that Paul McAdam, senior director of the Banking Practice at J.D. Power, says investing in technology helps banks reduce their costs. But technology can also provide a barrier to customer engagement, a key element of the banking industry’s traditional business model.
‘Growing digital divide’
Three decades ago bank customers visited a branch to cash a check, where they might know the tellers. They might even get a toaster if they opened a new account. McAdam says there is a sizable segment of consumers that like that approach.
“Right now, retail banks need to address the growing digital divide that is emerging within customer segments,” he said. “Successfully navigating that transition will require banks to provide better, more personalized advice that is consistent across both digital and branch interactions and to ensure that customer needs are met, regardless of channel.”
The study found that bank customers who only used online or mobile banking were the least satisfied among all bank patrons. Customers who only did their banking at a branch were slightly more satisfied. Consumers who used both branches and online banking were actually the most satisfied bank customers.
Drilling deeper into the data, the study authors found that communication appears to be the weakest link in digital banking’s relationship with customers. Digital-only customers said the main source of their frustration with their bank came in the areas of communication and advice; products and fees; and opening a new account.
Communication has long been an issue for bank customers. In a recent post at ConsumerAffairs, James, of Alpharetta, Ga., voiced his frustration about dealing with his bank when it froze his accounts.
“Unable to pay bills, process checks, take out cash that is legally ours,” James wrote. “We have over $100K in checking and deposit and they put a freeze on us. Something about our mother-in-law who was on the account many years ago had to contact the bank. She is 80 years of age and in poor health and did not know what she was calling about. I could not tell her either as the bank would not tell me.”
It’s not just aging Baby Boomers who are frustrated with their banks’ technology. The study found the biggest satisfaction gap between digital and branch-dependent customers is among millennials, followed by Gen X. But McAdam says the satisfaction problem is fixable.
“Some of the best practices being pioneered today by digital leaders include highly personalized digital interactions along with branch transformation efforts that serve the needs of both digital-centric and branch-dependent customers.”
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