Canadian Treasurer

March 11, 2011

Banks must do more to improve the customer experience: Ernst & Young

TORONTO--Although 75 percent of Canadians surveyed say their trust in banks has stayed the same or has increased in the past 12 months, almost 64 percent say they plan to switch banks or have already done so because of service quality issues, says an Ernst & Young report released today.

“Canadian banks came out of the financial crisis relatively unscathed as compared to most of their global counterparts. As a result, banks here have seen the level of trust remain steady or even improve,” says Paul Battista, Financial Services Advisory Leader at Ernst & Young Canada. “But our survey clearly shows that the trust factor isn’t what drives dissatisfaction in Canadians’ banking relationships. It’s the lack of personalized attention and service issues.”

In A new era of customer expectation, Ernst & Young finds that only 25 percent of Canadian respondents say they have less confidence in their banks than they did pre-crisis, compared to 44 percent of global respondents and 55 percent in the US. Within Europe, the UK has seen the largest drop in consumer trust (63 percent).

Though the trust Canadians have in their banks remains high, the survey makes clear that the battle to win over new retail banking customers will be focused largely on improving personalized attention and reducing service issues.

“Thirty-four per cent of respondents say they receive either occasional or absolutely no personalized attention from their banks, making them easy targets for competitive offers,” Battista says. “Service quality stands out as the biggest cause of customer attrition, with 64 percent of Canadians saying they have changed or plan to change banks for this reason. Banks looking to grow and retain their retail customers will need to focus on making big improvements in these two key areas.”

The survey suggests that Canadian banks need to reconnect with customers by improving the customer experience across all channels. Banks that make positive strides in their mobile offerings should see the greatest benefits, as only 29 percent of Canadians are satisfied with mobile banking services.

“The banks that find innovative ways to effectively deliver high-quality, personalized service will, in the long run, provide a strong base for greatly improving customer loyalty,” says Battista.

Other key survey findings:
· 48 percent of Canadian customers bank with just one bank, and 37 percent bank with two.
· 38 percent of Canadians say they’ve changed their main bank in the past, compared to the global average of 36 percent
· 73 percent of Canadians would not pay for independent financial advice, believing it should be part of their banks’ service offerings.
· Brand image rates 4.6/6 to Canadians in what’s most important to their relationship with their banks.

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.





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