Banking’s customer service balancing act: online, in-branch, or both?
Survey reveals the importance of customer service in banking
Read time: 2 minutes
No two banking customers are alike. Some want personalized service and a trusted relationship. Others want a fast, frictionless digital experience, with minimal “human involvement” to slow the process.
What does this mean for banks? To get the answers, Ricoh commissioned a survey, conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. The survey revealed that:
Customer service, both online and in-branch, is key
Nearly 3 in 5 Americans (59%) say good customer service is among the most compelling reasons to stay with their current banking services provider.
Nearly half of Americans (48%) say conveniently located branch locations are among the most compelling reasons to stay with their bank.
At the same time, younger adults ages 18-44 are more than twice as likely as those ages 45+ to say their most preferred way to communicate with a banking services provider if they needed assistance would be online chat (29% vs. 14%).
What does this tell us? That while banks must continue to focus on enhancing their digital customer engagement, they must also remain focused on addressing the needs of those consumers who demand that highly personalized, in-branch experience.
Customer service in banks is more important than products
We also learned that whether a website, online app, or brick and mortar branch, it’s customer service that earns and keeps a customer’s loyalty. Customer service is, in fact, even more important to Americans than whether or not the bank offers the products and services they want. In our survey, 59% of Americans cited “good customer service” as the top reason they stay with their provider, while only 42% cited “products they want/need” as a top reason.
Customer service and communication
Our survey also provided insights into the most preferred methods of communication. When asked what method they most prefer when seeking assistance from their banking provider, a much higher percentage most prefer to speak with a live representative as opposed to using an online chat.
We know through our survey that customer service is critical to attracting and retaining customers — more critical, in fact, than the products and services banks offer. We also know that no two customers are exactly alike. Some want the convenience of a digital experience, others want the personalized interaction that only a branch can offer. So, whether it’s a simple online transfer of funds, or a more complex transaction, such as a mortgage application, banks — at least for now — are faced with a balancing act. One that will keep them focused on both their online and in-branch customer experiences.
Survey Method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ricoh from February 23-27, 2023 among 2,027 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact John Greco, email@example.com.
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