Bank Customers Want More Tech, But Still Love Branches

ANN ARBOR — Until switching banks is as painless as switching cell phone providers, at least 21 percent of customers feel like they’re being held captive by their current bank.

And despite the growing popularity of online banking, nearly half (49 percent) of customers still want access to a physical branch.

These are just some of the key findings from a newly released banking report conducted by ForeSee, the Ann Arbor-based customer experience analyst.

The new ForeSee Experience Index 2017 Banking Report surveyed more than 4,000 banking customers in the United States to examine factors that influence customer experience with national banks, regional banks, and credit unions. The research reveals that while customer experience is not a top reason customers select a bank, a great digital customer experience is a crucial retention tool and one that ranks as a top reason people stay with a bank. In general, customer satisfaction was highest with credit unions (86), outperforming regional (82) and national banks (80) using the FXI’s 100-point scale.

Other key findings of the report include:

* Branches still matter: Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of customers start their journey in a digital channel (desktop and mobile web) when opening a new account. Yet, more than half of those customers (59 percent) who started their journey digitally end up finishing at a branch location.
* Banks rely too much on captive loyalty to retain customers: Only 38 percent of bank customers said they would definitely consider their primary bank when in the market for new services. Coupled with the 21 percent that aren’t switching banks due to concern about the consequences of switching (e.g., missed payments, etc.) , that is a considerable percentage of customers held captive.
* Younger customers are less loyal: One-fifth of Gen Z consumers have already switched banks at least once in their short lifetime, and over a quarter of Gen Z banking customers would switch banks if it were as easy as switching cell phones.
* Customers want more financial technology: On average, 53 percent of people want more fintech services offered or integrated through their primary bank. And younger groups are even hungrier, with three-quarters of Gen Z (76 percent) and millennials (70 percent) looking for more such fintech services.

“The banking industry is being reshaped by fierce competition, notably from fintech companies that offer everything from payments to investing, often at a lower cost and with greater perceived convenience, “ says Jason Conrad, ForeSee vice president and author of the FXI: 2017 Banking Report. “But our research confirms that customers still want face-to-face interaction, putting the onus on retail banks to deliver omnichannel efficiency while balancing the needs of key customer segments. Measuring CX is the first step towards managing it.”

Download the full report at this link.

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