Jul 02 2015

Customers Prefer Banks with Simple Tech Tools

A new satisfaction survey shows that bank customers value digital services and ease of use, not just customer service.

The people have spoken.

In a J.D. Power survey of more than 80,000 bank customers, researchers found that service level is no longer a trump card when it comes to customer satisfaction. Digital services are now key to optimizing customer experiences.

In a post on the Bank Deals Blog, Sheryl Nance-Nash delves into the results of the 2015 survey, as well as the repercussions for financial institutions:

The survey unveiled a shift. "We are seeing larger banks like Citi, Chase and Bank of America narrowing the gap with mid-size banks in terms of customer satisfaction. Mid-size banks, those with 500+ branches traditionally were seen as offering better service," says Rocky Clancy, vice president banking services for J.D. Power. He says that big banks sometimes have better mobile and online services. "Branches that have self serve kiosks and tablets in the branches you see higher satisfaction. Some mid-size banks aren’t keeping up in the digital space," says Clancy.

His message to mid-size banks, "You have to pay attention to the realities of the market, what’s important to the customer. You need to spend more money on digital. Don’t rest on your laurel. That age old notion that you offer better service than big banks is diminishing."

What isn’t diminishing is the need for simplicity in banking. Even though mobile functionality increased over the last year, big banks’ mobile satisfaction scores suffered a six-point drop due to low ratings in clarity of information and ease of navigation. Customers likewise expressed dissatisfaction with ATM navigation, despite functionality improvements.

“Customer expectation may be outpacing technology improvements,” Nance-Nash says.

Those unmet expectations are likely to affect customer loyalty. According to the J.D. Power survey, of the customers who fully understand their banks’ mobile services, 46 percent said they “definitely will not” switch banks. Just 34 percent of customers who don’t understand mobile expressed the same level of loyalty.

That means banks of all sizes should consider making thoughtful use of technology a top priority this year.