What would frustrate South Africans enough to switch banks? Surprisingly it is not benefits, or rewards, or a cheaper alternative that would make them move – but impolite, rude or uninterested staff.
This is a wake-up call for local banks, but South Africans are not alone in their number one reason for why they would switch banks. A recent customer loyalty study commissioned by Verint found that, although consumers globally trusted banks more than other service providers, only 24% of the 18 000 consumers surveyed in nine countries indicated that their bank delivered good service. And when consumers were asked what would frustrate them enough to switch banks, there were two “leaders” – impolite, rude or uninterested staff – or too many mistakes, both with 22% globally.
In South Africa, customer service and price were particularly important for banks; impolite, rude or uninterested staff (23%) was seen as more important than finding a cheaper alternative (19%) as a reason for switching from banking brand. The cheaper alternative was far more important when it came to brands for supermarkets, grocery stores and clothes shops, with 37% of the more than 2000 locals interviewed, saying finding a cheaper alternative would be the biggest driver in their choice to switch.
Consumers in the UK were even more aggressive with 28% saying that they would change banks because of impolite, rude or uninterested staff and 25% because of too many mistakes. In the US, 31% said they’d change banks if there were too many mistakes.
“Customer habits are changing with the explosive growth of mobile banking, and fewer customers are visiting branches as a result, getting it right is more critical than ever,” says Jenni Palocsik, director: solutions marketing for Verint Systems.
“‘Whether your financial institution is large or small – and prides itself on its community involvement or providing great financial services solutions – you are likely assessing market demographics to decide what branch changes to make to support operational efficiency and meet revenue goals.
“Branch transformation will not be the same for each organisation. Done well, it can serve as a competitive advantage for those that ‘get it right’ for their customers. However, in order to develop a branch transformation strategy that aligns with your business model and management processes, you need data. And not just on what is happening in a single branch on a given date, but data that offers holistic visibility into the processes and activities of your branch employees as they interact with customers across your network – and how this varies by location, day and time,” says Palocsik.
She says contact centres regularly measure and manage their agents’ performance to make decisions to support organisational goals around operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, using proven technology and reporting best practices. Branch operations can do the same.
“By using solutions such as desktop and process analytics (DPA) to unobtrusively and automatically capture data on applications used and processes followed, banks can gain critical insights into what is happening across its branch network to help enable better decision-making. This can include identifying applications used, unused capacity, and even measuring how long it takes to complete various types of transactions.
“Branch recording can also be used to capture the face-to-face conversations your staff has with customers, and these interactions can be a priceless source of information to your bank. The same proven technology in common use for phone calls into your organisation can also be a useful tool for your branch environment. With consumer feedback indicating they’d switch banks if they experienced impolite, rude or uninterested staff, being able to listen to and manage the quality of these in-person conversations can be an important tool to help your bank retain more customers.”
Palocsik says by listening to these in-person sales discussions, banks can literally hear the “voice of the customer” and assess the quality of each branch visit to identify best practice examples, as well as determine where additional coaching or training may be needed to help ensure sales effectiveness and regulatory compliance.
She says individual employees, branch managers and retail banking executives can monitor daily progress against key performance indicators through scorecards and dashboards. Performance management can bring together data from DPA, branch recording, and other branch applications to provide visibility into this data in the context of your business management processes to help potentially improve decision-making.
“It’s impossible to predict how banking will continue to evolve over the short term and the long term. However, it’s clear that change will be required. In order to respond effectively and stay competitive, branches will need visibility into their operations,” Palocsik says.