Digital banking was widely viewed as a burgeoning customer engagement vehicle for financial institutions. But, this year a study showed a decline in customer satisfaction and brand loyalty accompanying digital banking.
In fact, in this day and age of consumers seeking online/mobile options to conduct their banking needs, TimeTrade released its annual State of Banking report for 2017, which says face-to-face banking remains popular and predicts that banking will become more human by 2027.

Will old time banking customer loyalty return?

According to TimeTrade’s study, with tedious voice recognition tellers and punch-button wormholes plaguing banking customer service calls, “in-person banking is ripe for a resurgence, with help from technologies that are improving the customer experience. While survey respondents list several reasons for preferring to do their banking in person, ranging from cybersecurity concerns to the complexity of new technologies, there are some key factors banks need to consider if they want to provide a winning face to face experience.”

These factors include:

Allowing customers to schedule an appointment: 50 percent choose a bank because it offers the ability to schedule an appointment and 78 percent of respondents said they would bank on a busy weekday if they could schedule an appointment.

Providing highly personalized experiences: 69 percent of customers who have a positive experience are more likely to stay loyal.

Despite the convenience of online banking, the survey of 2,000 consumers found that nearly half of respondents (48 percent) visited a bank branch once a month or more, with another 26 percent frequenting a branch at least five times in 2016.

Those results are consistent with the finding that branch location and operating hours are the top reasons consumers choose where to do their banking. The quality of the customer service they receive is the next most important factor when choosing a bank.

Banks, the study shows, do a good job of providing customers with a personalized experience. Seventy-one percent of respondents feel they have a personalized experience in the branch, and 51 percent of consumers said they always are served by a knowledgeable representative when they need help with a specific issue.

Given the varied banking choices available to consumers, meeting and exceeding customer expectations is critical for banks that want to maximize business at their branches.

“Like most industries, banking is adapting to the rapidly changing needs of its customers,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “In 10 years, it’s likely bank branches will be just one of the possible places for face-to-face meetings at key moments of the customer journey. The customer will be in control of deciding when and where they want to meet, and they’ll be able to easily schedule an in-person or virtual appointment. The meeting can be at a bank building, or at a local coffee shop. By 2027 banking will become much more human again—reverting back to personalized, local relationships, like banks used to have with their customers.”
According to the TimeTrade study, one of the ways banks can ensure that the right people are available to serve customers who want to discuss mortgages, loans, retirement planning and other important matters is to allow them to schedule appointments with subject-matter experts, at a date, time, and location of the customers’ choosing.

More than 65 percent of survey respondents said, for example, they would prefer to schedule an appointment with a mortgage specialist instead of going to a branch and waiting for someone to help them. More than half of respondents said they would choose a bank specifically because it offered the ability to schedule appointments at a convenient time and location; and 34 percent said they would be much more likely to visit a branch if they could make an appointment for the time they prefer.

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