Global Consumer Banking Survey 2012

Offer choice and flexibility

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Banking customers are more willing than ever to shop around for the best fees for products and services.

Banks are competing for the attention and loyalty of increasingly demanding customers.

The proportion of customers planning to change banks has increased since 2011, with 50% of customers globally citing high fees and charges as the primary reason.

But customers appear to want more than a better deal — they want the flexibility to shape the relationship, contacting their bank whenever and however they choose. They may prefer online channels for simple transactions, but demand high-quality, personalized services for more complex transactions.

Customers are also showing increased interest in loyalty programs, especially in emerging markets like India. Although these programs tend to be costly, they offer significant benefits in advocacy and loyalty.

Key regional findings include:

  • Banking customers in more mature economies, such as the US and Latin America, tend to bank with one or two banks, primarily to ensure they receive the best products and services at the most attractive prices.
  • Customers in emerging economies, such as China, India and Japan tend to bank with multiple providers mainly due to concerns over potential bank failures.

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Customers with one bank have fallen from 41% to 31%, while those with three or more have increased from 21% to 32% since 2011.

How can banks offer more personalized services to customers?

  • Make pricing and service promises transparent. Pricing is critical to customer satisfaction, but most customers have no idea how much they pay each year. Transparency over pricing and service promises is vital if banks are to deliver something customers value.
  • Offer tiered levels of customer experience. Customers should have the option to buy into certain products and services, and the ability to earn upgrades through loyalty, whether in terms of longevity or the share of wallet handled by a particular bank.
  • Move from multi-channel to omni-channel distribution. Banks need to look beyond multi-channel distribution towards an omni-channel approach, which uses customer data gathered from branches, website visits, social media and elsewhere.