In 2017, we conducted one of the most comprehensive customer surveys on customer experience in the Australian market. It’s called Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™). The results may upset banks, but that’s too bad — this is what their customers think.

In sum, customers aren’t feeling the effects of banks’ CX investments, and most banks don’t have a plan in place to fix this.

We looked at nine banks along 50 drivers of CX quality. In the categories of ease, effectiveness, and emotion, we assessed the digital and physical interactions of 4,310 customers of CBA, ANZ, Bankwest, Bendigo Bank, ING Direct, NAB, St. George, Suncorp, and Westpac. The winners: Bendigo Bank and ING Direct, which topped the rankings with elite scores. Here are the full rankings:

But what lies beneath is more fascinating and applicable to any senior decision maker working in an Australian bank.

  • The squeaky wheel should stop getting the grease; the sneaky wheel should get it instead. In conversations we have with banking executives, among their top customer-related priorities are limiting complaints. Jeff Bezos put it best when he said that you will always have complaints. While a noisy complaint can cause damage, we found that angering your customers isn’t as harmful to their loyalty as making them feel annoyed, disappointed, or frustrated. Of bank customers who feel disappointed, 86% plan to leave the brand and 88% plan to not deepen their investment with the brand. Considering the gap between important customer drivers and performance, banks are leaking customer loyalty if they don’t re-evaluate their priorities in a holistic and data-driven way.
  • Executives call it “a silo problem,” while customers don’t call it anything — they just leave. If a brand is meant to be human, then most banks have amnesia. A top source of losing customers and is making customers feel misunderstood. It’s obvious that having to repeat or input information about yourself multiple times is annoying, but our data shows that it’s now one of greatest contributors of CX-inclined revenue leakage. Across the board, customers told us that Australian banks underperform in having employees that understand customer needs and know their account history. Underpinning this are challenges around systems talking to each other, training, and usable interfaces, but the opportunity for getting this right is large.
  • It’s time to talk about emotions more. Making customers happy is not the lone driver of loyalty; making customers feel confident and valued are close by in the top three. We found that the impact of these positive emotions on loyalty was clear and strong. Of bank customers who feel valued, 85% will advocate for the brand, 81% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and 73% plan to stay with the brand. This affects the bottom line: A one-point improvement in its CX Index score can lead to $30 million in incremental revenue for a bank brand.

For the full report and deeper analysis of each brand, click here, or start a conversation with us.