In Focus
FINANCIAL SERVICES | Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena, Singapore

1 in 5 customers want to ditch their main bank

They hate the long waiting time for just a single transaction.

Banks have every right to be worried as one in five bank customers are expecting to leave their primary bank for another in the next 12 months.

According to J.D. Power Singapore Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, customers are starting to veer away from traditional high-touch channels like branches and call centres. 

J. D. Power service industry practice leader Anthony Chiam said amongst all banking channels, self-service platforms such as ATMs, online and mobile banking are generating higher satisfaction scores than the said traditional channels.

“The migration of customers to self-service channels leaves banks with fewer opportunities to engage customers face to face,” he said.

This makes it hard for banks to provide complex financial advice or discuss products. He noted that the bank's branches remain crucial for banks and they need to make sure to strike a balance in their overall strategy.

"Whilst many banks recognise the needs of their customers, due to stakeholder pressures, cost containment is often prioritised above managing satisfaction levels. But when it comes to customer retention, banks must be reminded that the lifetime value of a satisfied customer more than outweighs short-term cost saving measures," Chiam said.

The study found out that one of the reasons why customers are willing to switch their banks is the long average waiting time at the branch which sits at 12.4 minutes, three times longer than in the United States (only 3.6 minutes) and more than twice as long as in Australia (5 minutes).

Chiam cited three reasons why Singaporeans still perceive the wait time at banks to be long. One is not being acknowledged or welcomed upon entry at the branches.

"Our study shows that being greeted at the door of the branch makes customers feel welcomed and helps to connect the two parties. This also goes a long way when it comes to managing the perception of queue time," he said.

More so, banks should revisit their capacity plans, as tellers and low counter positions are not usually manned especially during peak hours.

"Ensuring that staff breaks are adequately staggered and that counters are fully staffed helps to keep the queue moving. In addition to financial metrics, reducing wait time should be made a priority for branch staff," he said.

Lastly, Chiam said there should be a customer-centric process. He said the legacy processes implemented by many banks still play a major part in influencing how customers perceive their branch experience.

“These should be reviewed with customer experience placed at the core of how processes are designed. In some markets, banks have even opened cafes and travel agencies at select branches to ensure waiting periods are more enjoyable," he pointed.

Check out the infographic below for more interesting findings:

Click Here to see slideshow

1 in 5 customers want to ditch their main bank

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