Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever in an Era When Consumers Think Banks Don’t Care

Customer Service Is More Important Than Ever in an Era When Consumers Think Banks Don’t Care

A new study found that almost half of consumers feel frustrated or disappointed with their financial services company. Worse still, more than a third don’t believe that banks respond — or even care — about their complaints.

The survey, from Silicon Valley-based consulting firm Protiviti, does contain some good news. The vast majority of customers do believe banks meet their expectations, but the concern is that expectations might be very low given the persistent belief that companies are not concerned with fixing complaints.

“Banks have ample room for improvement in exceeding customer expectations, managing the customer experience, and perhaps more importantly, convincing consumers that they care about their complaints,” stated Protiviti’s Annual Consumer Banking Survey.

customer service

Just over one-third (36%) believe their bank responds every time with a resolution when they complain about a problem. “When it comes to addressing their complaints and challenges, customers are not sure financial institutions care, and banks should keep in mind that customers still prefer to log complaints the old-fashioned ways — via calls to customer service and visits to branches.”

In other words, customer service matters — big time — and this can’t be fixed with purely online solutions. Clients need actual customer care. It is the forward-facing embodiment of the company, and especially in an era when most transactions are conducted digitally, the few human interactions that do occur really stand out.

Atul Garg, a managing director in Protiviti’s business performance improvement practice, pointed to the importance of customer service not just in customer satisfaction scores but in the overall brands of banks today. “For many consumers, a brand is equated with the customer’s experience,” said Garg.

He also notes that a culture of complacency will no longer work. In the past, when most consumers had few local options and had to rely on a brick-and-mortar provider that was conveniently located near their home, banks could retain market share without much effort.

That has all changed. “Consumer banks are no longer squaring off solely against traditional industry opponents to attract and retain customers,” said Garg. “They’re also contending with established consumer brands, emerging fintech players, and others.”

With PayPal and others leading the charge, a new crop of client-centric and digital-native financial companies are putting major effort into giving customers exactly what they want. These firms aren’t basing operations on decades-old business models. They are continually updating and tweaking their services in response to consumer needs.

“Succeeding in this new competitive landscape requires a rigorous focus on customer care and a commitment — at every level of the organization — to finding ways to consistently exceed customer expectations,” said Garg.

Photo Credit: Coolcaesar 

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