There’s a fine line between making a sale and alienating customers through poor CX, and it seems that financial institutions, many of which have enjoyed skyrocketing satisfaction scores in recent years, are starting to push clients away by blurring that line. Market research firm J.D. Power shared its findings in a report exploring the perception of banks through the eyes of customers in a special report called Customer Views on Sales Practices in Financial Services.
 
According to the data, satisfaction still sits at a high point since the 2008 financial crisis; more than 4/5 of customers trust their bank, with only 4 percent indicating doubts about the bank’s ethics.
 
However, not all the news is positive. Among customers that lack a feeling of brand loyalty toward their financial institution of choice, the most cited reason was aggressive sales tactics. This creates a conflict for banks, who must now find a balance between driving growth through two different means: profitability through additional sales, and retention through positive CX.
 
“In the wake of the Wells Fargo crisis, financial firms of every type have been taking a hard look at their sales practices and controls. For our part, we really wanted to see this issue through the customer’s eyes,” said Jim Miller, senior director of retail banking services at J.D. Power. “It may be surprising to some, but customers continue to put faith in their banks, as 79 percent of customers believe their bank acts in their best interest. However, as we continued to dig deeper into the issue, it became clear that an intense sales culture at some banks may indeed be driving short-term growth, but it can erode loyalty and lead to a loss of future revenue. Banks must foster a customer-centered culture where they focus on meeting needs and providing relevant advice rather than just selling the next account.”
 
Thanks to these tactics, bank customers have seen an uptick in confusing fees and fund transfers: 12 percent have experienced fees or charges that they don’t remember being notified of prior to payment. For a relationship that must largely be built, this kind of confusion may be an indication of cracks showing in an industry that has shown CX excellence in spite of a historically negative perception.

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