Brickstream Corporation Declares The Value of a Branch Banking Experience

Monday 8 March 2004 16:59 CET | News

Brickstream Corporation has published the findings of its branch banking customer market research, developed with the support of Gartner Group and A.C. Nielsen.

What constitutes a better branch experience in the mind of the customer? What is the financial impact of from a banks perspective? The answers to these questions have far-reaching implications on where banks focus investment to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and value. To assist bankers with these questions Brickstream initiated a custom research project to factually understand what retail banking customers want from their bank branch, how well banks are meeting those expectations, and the financial implication of performing - or not performing - up to those expectations. The survey was conducted during November, 2003, and polled 500 branch banking customers equally distributed across age, gender, income, education, and rural/urban locations. The survey substantiated that the branch continues to have a central role in the customer banking relationship. The majority of customers visit their branch weekly or biweekly, and 97% of customers visit their branch at least once a month. Respondents indicate they value customer service and competitive prices more than product selection and branch amenities. In fact, the top reason customers switch banks is poor customer service. Customer service attributes customers rank highest include, in order of importance: 1. Fast teller service 2. Convenient locations and long hours 3. Error-free banking 4. Availability of multiple channels 5. Quick service branch layouts Speed and convenience are essential components of good customer service. Customers want to get in and out of the branch quickly. 29% stated that a wait time of more than five minutes was unacceptable and only 36% stated that they would remain in line if the wait time was longer than ten minutes. A strong correlation exists between the amount of time a customer has to wait in line and their likelihood to remain a customer of the bank. Individuals unlikely to remain customers wait almost twice as long in line as those who say they are likely to continue to remain a customer. Two-thirds of the customers surveyed prefer service from a human teller. Customers do not place high importance on the availability of newer banking channels, such as Internet banking kiosks. Customers value branch formats that facilitate quick service, including high availability of assisted and self-service channels and an easy-to-navigate layout with clear signage. Branch investments in additional amenities do not add significantly to the customer experience. Only 4% of customers say additional amenities including drive-through windows, play areas and customer lounges are important enough reasons to switch banks. Consistency of the banking experience is critical. Nearly half of the customers would give their bank only two chances to fail before considering switching. Seventy-percent of retail banking customers said that they have had at least one negative banking experience during the past year. 40% of respondents had up to five negative experiences in the last year. Teller wait time and longer-than-acceptable transaction times topped the list of negative experiences. 37% of bank customers say that they have abandoned the queue one or more times during the past year. Overall there is room for improvement. Three-quarters of the respondents say that customer service has stayed the same or declined over the past year. The Brickstream research suggests that banks should more aggressively prioritize investment and management attention towards exceeding expectations for branch customer service. There are some immediate opportunities for branch banking providers: -- Focus on five. Implement and continuously monitor a service level policy that keeps wait times and counter transaction times under five minutes. -- Re-evaluate the convenience of existing locations. Consider expanding the number of branches with

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce