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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : October 10, 2016

Bank customers loyal but marketers must not rest on laurels

New research from the Direct Marketing Association in the U.S. reveals that the majority of consumers are happy with their current bank but also warns that banks should not rest on their laurels and, instead, seek to provide the more sophisticated features customers crave.

by Helen Leggatt

The Direct Marketing Association's (DMA UK) new Customer Engagement infographic reveals that, on the whole, consumers are happy with their current bank. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said that, despite banks making it easier to switch providers, they had not done so in the last year because they had "no issues or problems with their bank" and 75% have no switched providers in the past six years.

However, banks that rest on their laurels believing customer satisfaction and loyalty has been achieved need to think again.

"At first glance the headline figures from this research might lull retail banks into believing they have a strong customer base, that they can rely on to remain loyal," says Tomas Salfischberger, CEO at Relay42. "However, marketers know that the rise of the challenger banks prove the established players cannot take anything for granted. With digital technology creeping into every aspect of our lives consumers will come to expect similar services from their banks."

According to the DMA, consumers want to see more sophisticated features. Today, three-quarters (76%) use online banking and 22% use mobile banking. It is this technology that today's banking customers want banks to make more use of.

More than half (51%) said they want special access to offers and deals, such as discounts, via their bank. A similar proportion (49%) want email alerts for banking activities such as transfers or bill payments. Forty-seven percent said they want banking apps to manage their accounts and 45% want personalized recommendations for accounts or banking products.

Virtual assistants could provide an opportunity for banks to humanize the digital experience too, and 35% of consumers said they're interested in a service that gives access to a personal virtual assistant to help with banking tasks.

"Even with this confirmed switching inertia, like most businesses, banks and other financial services businesses still need to win new customers. The younger generation, in particular, expect and are more likely to respond to smart, relevant and actionable offers and messages, and these days, this can only be enabled by data," says Jed Mole, European marketing director at Acxiom.

"Banking marketers need to make the brand come alive to make one service distinct from a competitor, and can't just rely on a customer's experience of providing a current account service that works - clearly this is not enough of a trigger to move from one provider to another."

Tags: banking, financial services, loyalty, mobile, research

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