ATM, branch, mobile, online … or all of the above?

 In News

Digital channels notwithstanding, branches still have a significant effect on customer satisfaction across all age groups, according to the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction study.

The study finds that retail bank satisfaction is highest among customers who have visited a branch within the past 12 months vs. those who have only used digital channels, a press release said. And that includes millennials (age 23–35), whose satisfaction was highest when they used both branch and digital banking channels.

“There is no question that banks need to get the digital experience right in order to attract and retain customers, however, the branch continues to play an important part of the overall customer experience,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking at J.D. Power. “The trend is particularly noteworthy among millennials who represent the future of banking. … Banks can’t choose between the two channels; rather, they must focus on how the two work together.”

Following are key findings of the study:

  • More customers than ever are using mobile banking (49 percent of millennials; 31 percent of Gen X; 16 percent of boomers). Despite widespread adoption of the digital channel, 71 percent of all bank customers visited the branch an average of 14 times over the past year. Among millennials, 71 percent used the branch, averaging 11 visits in the past year.
  • Across all demographic groups, satisfaction among those who visited a bank branch within the past 12 months is 27 index points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) than among those who did not. Among millennials, satisfaction was 20 points higher for those who used both branch and mobile vs. branch only and 37 points higher vs. those who used mobile only. Additionally, 78 percent of new accounts are opened in the branch.
  • Customer satisfaction, brand image and retention are higher among bank customers who have a mobile payment service linked to their account. This trend is most pronounced among millennials with incomes above $80,000, 64 percent of whom have mobile payment services linked to their accounts.
  • Unsuccessful resolution of a banking issue is highly correlated with low levels of satisfaction and high levels of customer attrition. Only 20 percent of customers in this group said they were likely to reuse the bank. Loyalty increases to 58 percent when a problem is successfully resolved. While the branch has been the traditional channel for problem resolution, younger customers prefer to address issues online or via social media.

The U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study measures satisfaction in six areas: account information; channel activities; facility; fees; problem resolution; and product offerings. Channel activities include: ATM; branch; call center; IVR; mobile; and website.

The 2017 study is based on responses from more than 78,000 retail banking customers of 136 of the largest banks in the United States, and was fielded from April 2016 to February 2017.

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