Personal beats digital for bank customers seeking help – survey

By Paolo Taruc

Although digital banking is seeing widespread use across Australia, customers still prefer a personal touch when facing problems.

According to a J.D. Power survey, customers prefer to visit a branch or call a bank representative when they have a problem (86%) or question (73%).

This comes despite figures showing nearly 9 in 10 (89%) of banking customers have used a digital channel to interact with their primary bank over the past 12 months.

Results are similar among millennials who also prefer to speak with a person when they have a problem (85%) or question (66%).

Some 14% of customers indicate having experienced a problem with their bank in the past 12 months.

Of these customers, 26% have experienced a problem with the customer service provided at the branch or on the phone.

“With most customers choosing to raise a problem or question with a bank representative directly either at a branch or on the phone, closing bank branches and driving a digital agenda is not going to address this pain point,” said Anthony Chiam, Practice Leader Service Industry at J.D. Power.

“The bank branch still has an important role to play for the customer, but pain points online and on banking apps also need to be fixed if banks want to move more customers to these channels.

Ultimately, if banks do want to transition to digital, they need to make sure their customers are ready to follow.”

Separate figures also found that Australia’s happiest customers conduct business with customer-owned banks.

Customer-owned Heritage Bank received a score of 827 out of 1000 from consumers.

This was followed by People’s Choice Credit Union (822) and CUA (796). The Commonwealth Bank of Australia took out the top spot among the major banks with a score of 747.