Bank reputations have gotten black eyes in the wake of the Wells Fargo scandal and other image-slashing incidents since the 2008 meltdown, but new research from Forrester reveals that banking customers are actually quite pleased with their experiences—with the financial services industry ranking second only to the top-ranked hotel industry in overall customer satisfaction in the firm’s U.S. 2017 Customer Experience Index.
However, customer experience quality for the banking industry has been stagnant. The lack of improvement was due to an even mix of modest gains and falling scores of the 28 direct and traditional retail banks ranked this year.
“Understanding your customers’ needs is vital to creating great experiences that drive revenue,” said Forrester chief research and product officer Cliff Condon, in a news release. “But many banks have not yet mastered which drivers and emotions most prominently affect their brand. For example, direct banks believe improving prices and fees is the most important driver, but according to Forrester’s latest CX Index data, it doesn’t necessarily compel customer loyalty the way strong customer service does.”
Key findings of the research include:
For the third year in a row, USAA came out on top as the number one direct bank—and leading bank overall
USAA came out on top even though its score declined slightly this year. As for traditional retail banks, Navy Federal Credit Union also held the number one spot for the third consecutive year, and is one of the few traditional retail banks to maintain its CX quality compared to others declining in its category.
The top emotions that drive loyalty are feeling appreciated, respected and valued
Providing experiences that lead to these emotions will affect a bank’s bottom line. For example, customers who feel valued by direct banks and traditional retail banks plan to increase their spending by 79 percent and 85 percent respectively. Moreover, a one-point CX Index score improvement can lead to $30 million in revenue for direct banks and up to $119 million for large retail banks.
Customer service defines the experience
Of the six drivers that measure brands’ delivery of CX quality, customer service is the most important driver for both direct banks and traditional retail banks. Seventy-three percent of customers of both bank industries report that they receive good customer service—second only to the hotel industry.
Based on a survey of nearly 120,000 U.S. online adult consumers, the Index measures and ranks more than 300 U.S. brands across 21 industries to identify how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. Of the 315 U.S. brands ranked in 2017, 28 direct and traditional retail banking brands were analyzed to determine how customers perceive their experiences and how CX drives loyalty.