Let Me Talk to a Person

According to Empathica Consumer Insights research of more than 15,000 Americans and Canadians focused on banking, consumers preferred channels, and bank loyalty factors, 41.4% of consumers indicated their preferred banking channel was the Internet, followed by Branch at 32.6%, ATM at 23.3%, and Mobile and Telephone a distant fourth and fifth at 1.5% and 1.3% respectively. Yet, when a problem arose, consumer preference drastically shifted.

Consumers most often wanted to speak with a person when they had an account issue. 60% cited the desire to visit a branch with a banking problem, while 34% preferred using the phone. Only 6% would prefer to take up their issue online.

Consumer Insights Dr. Gary Edwards says, "Connecting with consumers in a one-on-one manner can drastically influence bank loyalty... If you can quickly address a consumers concerns, they are more likely to be loyal to your bank than a consumer who never voiced any concerns at all."

For major transactions, such as a home loan, 78.7% of consumers preferred to visit the branch. Only 18.5% preferred the Internet, 2.5% the telephone and 0.3% opted to use their phone.  When opening a new account, consumers cited they had similar preferences.  

Edwards added, "Knowing... customers needs and channel preferences... help(s) banks better prepare front line employees to deal with these situations." 

Despite growth popularity with the mobile channel, North American consumers still have yet to really harness mobile banking, says the report. Only 1.5% use their mobile device for everyday transactions, which could be related to security concerns. In fact, 51.2% of U.S. consumers and 60.3% of Canadian consumers say they do not trust the security of mobile banking, compared to the 21.7% of U.S. and 26.2% of Canadians that do not trust Internet banking. Out of all methods for transactions, 84% of consumers trust the branch the most 

While mobile banking has a very low percentage of primary users in Canada, those who use it express a surprisingly high level of affection for their financial institution.  For Canadian consumers who cited using mobile banking the most for routine transactions, 83% were likely to recommend the channel. Branch, telephone, Internet and ATM all fell at or below 77%.

Survey results showed that Canadians favor Internet banking overall (49.4%), which is 10 percentage points higher than Americans (38.2%). According to Internet World Stats, however, both countries Internet penetration stands at around 77%.      

For major transactions, branches are preferred (76.2% U.S., 85.2% Canada), with Internet banking coming in at 21.1% for the U.S. and 11.9% for Canada. While fewer Canadians use the Internet as their preferred channel, 84% of those who do are satisfied with the experience.

For problem resolution in particular, telephone is much more comparable to the branch, with 36.5% of U.S. respondents and 27.2% of Canadian respondents using the telephone, as compared to 57.2% of U.S. and 66.9% of Canadians preferring the branch.

Concluding, the report notes that for routine transactions in both the U.S. and Canada, branch and ATM banking came out as second and third most used channels, respectively. Mobile came in at the bottom, with only 1.7% of U.S. consumers and 1.1% of Canadians reporting they use mobile banking as their preferred channel for routine transactions. Telephone ranked similarly, with only 0.8% of U.S. respondents saying it was their preferred channel and 2.6% of Canadian respondents citing the same.

For additional information from the report , and about Empathica, please visit here.

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