SA takes the lead in dissatisfied banking customers

2014-03-11 17:24

About half of South African banking customers who report a problem are left dissatisfied by the service they receive – higher than the global average.

This is according to a consumer banking survey released by professional services firm Ernst and Young (EY) this morning.

A total of 32 000 banking customers in 43 countries were surveyed, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Globally, about one-third of customers reported a problem in the past 12 months, while in South Africa it was about 41% of banking customers.

A third of customers who complained globally were left dissatisfied while in South Africa about half of the banking customers who complained were left dissatisfied.

Marius van den Berg, leader of the advisory banking sector for EY, said a bank’s ability to resolve customer problems had a substantial impact on advocacy for the bank – meaning that customers would not recommend their bank to those around them. He said this affected advocacy more so than satisfaction with a bank’s products, channels (including branches, online and call centres) and benefit delivery combined.

But when advocacy does happen, the survey found that African customers expressed stronger advocacy for their primary financial service provider than globally. Customers in Kenya (62%) are the strongest advocates, followed by South Africa (51%) and Nigeria (46%).

On a positive note, after several years of a sharp decline, confidence in the banking industry is on the rise.

The report showed that in South Africa 33% of customers reported increased confidence in the past 12 months and 43% reported confidence as remaining the same.

Van den Berg said the survey did not measure what confidence meant, but instead put the question to the customer. He also said the survey did not identify which bank the customer belonged to.

Customers in emerging markets have recorded a higher increase in confidence than the global average and in South Africa (33%).

Van den Berg said there had been a great deal of consolidation and reform in the banking sector in Nigeria and that could contribute to the high confidence of Nigerian banking consumers.

According to the survey, a little over half of customers globally have opened or closed at least one product in the past year and 40% plan to do so in the coming year. In South Africa, 44% of clients surveyed said they intended to close or open an account in the next year.

According to the survey, the three areas for improvement for banks are: making banking simple and clear through transparent fees and simplifying offerings, helping customers make the right financial decision and improving problem resolution capabilities.

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