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Topics: Customer Care

The banking industry is clearly a huge and influential sector of the economy. It’s one almost every single person has contact with at some point or another, whether through personal finance or managing a business’ financial future. With so many clients, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume the industry puts great emphasis on customer service.

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Yet the perception of most consumers is that banks aren’t doing enough; in fact, many people perceive the industry as being lousy at providing customer experience. Is it true?

What Customers See

The advent of social media has given angry and frustrated customers a platform to voice their complaints, broadcasting them to a wide audience—and people do jump up on the soap box Twitter and Facebook provide on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon to find angry tweets suggesting banks—any of them—provide poor service.

When all of these angry sentiments are amassed, a distorted picture of the customer experience is presented: Banks look like they provide poor service to their customers.

Pulling Back the Curtain

For every customer who complains, 26 more are silent—far less than a quarter of customers complain. So yes, there are 1,000 people on Twitter sounding off about poor customer service in the banking industry—but there are 26,000 who aren’t saying anything.

The question is then how those other people—the silent majority of your customers—actually perceive the service you provide. In most cases, they’re not necessarily wowed, but they’re at least satisfied. In many cases, they might even be impressed with your service—but they’re not jumping on Twitter to tell all how great their experiences were.

Why? Human beings have a predisposition toward negativity. Negative information is deemed more “newsworthy” and interesting; people dwell on negative experiences, complain about them, and other people perpetuate those stories.

Customer Service Matters

Most people do think the customer experience matters when it comes to choosing where to bank. At least, it factors into most people’s thinking when they consider switching banks. If they’ve had poor experiences and interactions, it will be a factor in their decision to leave.

But most people actually switch banks over other concerns, such as fees, security issues, and convenience. While you could argue some of these factors touch on service (particularly convenience), less than 15 percent of people say customer service is one of the top three reasons they switch banks.

What Do They Want?

Perhaps the most difficult thing to decipher is what customers actually want from their banks. The banking industry is just as guilty of getting wrapped up in fads, believing their customers want them to offer all kinds of new-fangled services and contact methods.

The most important thing for customers? Resolution rates. Customers who have issues want the problems resolved, and they want them resolved now. You could provide the friendliest, most personalized service, and customers would still rate it “poor” if it didn’t resolve the problem.

Offering Better Customer Service

So, what should those in the banking industry do? Customers perceive banks are bad at customer service, but then say it isn’t ultimately that important to them. It’s a confusing situation, to say the least.

The best thing a bank could do is pay attention to its customers. Obviously, fixing issues is paramount for consumers; they want their problems resolved, so one step to delivering better customer experience is improving your resolution rate. Another concern customers have? Security issues—focus on beefing up your security to protect your customers and watch them smile.

Customer service is still important. However, it’s time to think of it in a more all-encompassing way, integrated with everything you do.

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Jason Henning

Jason Henning

Jason is the senior vice president of Bill Gosling Outsourcing’s offshore location in the Philippines. He began this role in 2012 and was an integral part of the company’s development. Jason has over 10 years of experience in international operations; he managed all aspects of operations, profitability, and business development for Convergys’ offshore accounts receivable management. He’s also an avid golf player and a Delta Million Miler traveler.

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