Canada’s banks still best in customer experience

Improved global scores for banks didn't slow the gains from fintech firms.

Canada’s banks retained their place at the top of international rankings for customer service, a global report says, as retail banks around the world improved their scores but still failed to halt gains from fintech firms.

Capgemini and Efma’s 2016 World Retail Banking Report, released last week, once again had Canada atop the Customer Experience Index, improving its score from 78.9 in 2015 to 80.9 this year, edging out the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, the U.K. and Switzerland. Banks around the world improved their customer experience, with the overall scores up from 72.7 in 2015 to 75.6 in 2016.

But the improved service failed to stall the rise of fintech firms, which are making gains, especially among younger customers, and generating positive consumer reviews for their ease, speed and user experience.

Nearly two-thirds of customers are using fintech products or services, the report says. Despite the improved banking experience, customers are much more likely to refer others to their fintech provider (55%) than to their bank (38%). Only 16% say they’re likely to purchase an additional product from their bank, even with the improved customer experience scores.

The report also found an enormous gap between how customers and banks perceive fintech services. Among consumers, 82% say fintech services are easy to use, 81% say they offer fast service, and 80% say they provide a good user experience. Only 36% of banks agree that fintechs offer fast service, and only 40% say they provide a good experience.

While 96% of bank executives agree the industry is moving to digital banking, with a larger role for fintech providers, only 13% say they have the systems in place to support the evolution. The executives prefer to partner with fintech firms by collaborating (46%) and investing (44%) to address the threat, the report says, with only 18% saying they have plans to acquire fintech firms or technology. Less than one-quarter felt they have an advantage over fintech firms in agility or ability to innovate.

“The willingness to partner with fintech firms is a recognition that banks are unprepared to operate in a future that consists of a series of secure digital interconnections,” said Vincent Bastid, Efma’s secretary general, in a press release. “By partnering with these companies, banks can gain much needed guidance in product development, as well as a stronger voice in defining a central role for themselves in the current banking environment.”

The report uses data from more than 16,000 customers in 32 countries.

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