By : Andrew Short
December 05, 2017 08:00 AM
There are many things consumers expect from their banks today, but one of the biggest requirements of all is consistency.
Delivering a coherent, joined-up service across the expanding variety of channels and products that comprise the modern banking industry is no longer an option, but a necessity for any provider that wants to stay competitive.
Research has suggested that multi-product consistency is particularly important for millennials and 'generation Z' - two demographics that are vital to the future success of today's banks.
Maintaining satisfaction and loyalty
At a time when banks are facing challenges such as evolving consumer expectations and escalating competition from the fintech space and beyond, customer satisfaction and loyalty are prized assets.
Recent research has shown that delivering consistency across all products and lines of business is one of the key drivers of success in customer satisfaction. Low problem incidence is another.
Global consumer insights and advisory firm J.D. Power focused its study on the six largest retail banks in the US: PNC, Chase, U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank. It found that the top performers excelled at providing consistency across all product lines. PNC and Chase both outperformed the national average for overall satisfaction with deposit accounts, credit accounts, general convenience and channel interactions.
The survey of more than 5,700 retail banking customers found that 71 percent of respondents who used their bank for deposits, credit and investments said they will definitely use the same provider again in future. Just under half (49 percent) of those who used their bank solely for deposits said the same.
More than a fifth (22 percent) of millennials and a similar proportion (24 percent) of generation Z consumers (those born after 1995) have deposit, credit and investment accounts with their retail bank. That compares to only 11 percent of the baby boomer demographic and 15 percent of generation X.
Bob Neuhaus, financial services consultant at J.D. Power, said: "The [largest retail] banks offer a full line of products, including deposits, credit and investments, and to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction in every market, they must deliver consistently on all of these.
"Ultimately, our study shows that the ability to minimize customer problems and deliver consistently across all lines of business are among the keys to success in building that nationwide base of strong customer relationships."
A global trend
It's not just in the US that financial institutions (FIs) should be working and investing to provide the sort of omni-channel coherence and convenience that 21st-century customers have come to expect.
All over the world, the growth of mobile technologies and the development of innovative methods for businesses to engage with their audience has taken consumer expectations to a new level.
A recent NCR survey in the UK, for example, found that 94 percent of respondents with bank accounts felt that banking should be seamless across all devices and platforms. It seems that many institutions have scope for improvement on this front, with only 18 percent of consumers strongly agreeing that their current banking experience is seamless.
More than nine out of ten people (91 percent) said banking should be innovative, but only 14 percent strongly agreed that their own provider had demonstrated this quality.
These findings underline pretty emphatically just how important it is for banks to be constantly looking for new ways of providing services and optimizing the customer experience. Consistency across products and services should be the watchword as FIs target innovation to drive satisfaction and earn loyalty in their key demographics.