Rude staffers top reason why people switch banks

Johannesburg - What would frustrate South Africans enough to switch banks?

Surprisingly it is not benefits, or rewards, or a cheaper alternative that would make them move, but impolite, rude or uninterested staff.

This is a wake-up call for local banks, but South Africans are not alone in their number one reason why they would switch banks. A recent customer loyalty study commissioned by Verint found that although consumers globally trusted banks more than other service providers, only 24% of the 18 000 consumers surveyed in nine countries indicated that their bank delivered good service. 

When consumers were asked what would frustrate them enough to switch banks, there were two “leaders” - impolite, rude or disinterested staff - or too many mistakes, both with 22% globally.

Biggest driver

In South Africa, customer service and price were particularly important for banks; impolite, rude or uninterested staff (23%) was seen as more important than finding a cheaper alternative (19%) as a reason for switching banks. The cheaper alternative was far more important when it came to brands for supermarkets, grocery stores and clothes shops, with 37% of the more than 2 000 locals interviewed, saying finding a cheaper alternative would be the biggest driver in their choice to switch.

Consumers in the UK were even more aggressive with 28% saying that they would change banks because of impolite, rude or uninterested staff and 25% because of too many mistakes. In the USA, 31% said they would change banks if there were too many mistakes.

Jenni Palocsik, director, solutions marketing for Verint Systems, said: "Customer habits are changing with the explosive growth of mobile banking and fewer customers are visiting branches. As a result, getting it right is more critical than ever.

Using several tools, banks can unobtrusively and automatically capture data on applications used and processes followed, gain critical insights into what is happening across its branch network to help better decision-making. This can include identifying applications used, unused capacity and even measuring how long it takes to complete various types of transactions.

Retain more customers

She said: "Recordings can also be used to capture the face-to-face conversations your staff has with customers and these interactions can be a priceless source of information. The same proven technology in common use for phone calls into your organisation can also be a useful tool for your branch environment.

"With consumer feedback indicating they’d switch banks if they experienced impolite, rude or uninterested staff, being able to listen to and manage the quality of these in-person conversations can be an important tool to help your bank retain more customers.

"It’s impossible to predict how banking will continue to evolve over the short term and the long term. However, it’s clear that change will be required. In order to respond effectively and stay competitive, branches will need visibility into their operations,’’ said Palocsik.

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