Can digital banking improve in-branch satisfaction?

A new J.D. Power report highlights how mobile can enhance retail experiences for consumers.

Mobile options are changing the way Canadians do their banking, but combining mobile with physical presence is still an important element to customer satisfaction with the experience, according to J.D. Power’s 2016 Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

In addition to ranking the major banks in terms of customer satisfaction, the report also reveals some important insights about consumer habits when it comes to the way they utilize their bank’s physical branches and mobile options. By measuring factors like products, self-service, personal service, facilities, communication, financial advisors and problem resolution, J.D. Power established an overall satisfaction score, calculated out of 1,000.

The report found that 34% of bank customers are using mobile banking channels, up from 27% in the 2015 report and 20% in 2014. Overall satisfaction with their bank among customers who use mobile banking is 836 out of 1,000, compared with 760 among those who do not use mobile.

Satisfaction with mobile banking has seen a large surge. In the 2014 report, mobile banking channels had the lowest customer satisfaction at 770. In this year’s report, satisfaction with mobile banking was 804.

However, in-branch satisfaction among consumers is still the highest, albeit at a slim margin at 807, and 57% of millennial customers still make deposits in person, with 42% making cash withdrawals.

Paul McAdam, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power, points out in the report that having highly-satisfying and useful mobile options for customers can be a way to mitigate the negative impact of a bad banking experience, as well as improve satisfaction with a bank that may have a smaller network of branches to visit. Satisfied mobile users who have two or fewer branch offices near them averaged a 788 satisfaction score with their bank’s facilities, compared with 739 among those who do not use mobile.

“Self-service makes banking more convenient for customers, with mobile technology being a key element of self-service,” said McAdam. “Despite the growing number of digital channel interactions, there is more that banks can do to drive customers to self-service channels for routine transactions, which make it easier for the customer and more cost-effective for the bank.”

To that point, Tangerine – a bank that was built around digital and mobile banking options – was the highest-ranked mid-size bank in terms of customer satisfaction with a score of 840, compared to the average of 783 for the category.

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