Survey shows customers give banks lackluster grades on their personalization

The news: Consumers are not happy with the level of personalization they’re receiving during interactions with their banks, per J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, which surveyed over 101,000 people.

Key data: The new report found that people are expressing dissatisfaction with banks’ approaches to personalization based on how well they’re supported during difficult financial times. The research firm gave higher inflation as context.

  • J.D. Power found that 78% of respondents would continue using their bank if they received personalized support, but just 44% of banks are actually delivering it.
  • Jennifer White, the firm’s senior head of banking intelligence, said, “Customers are expecting a personalized mix of financial advice, hands-on help with problem resolution, and guidance on how to grow their money.
  • Respondents gave poor satisfaction marks on whether banks help save them money and time, grading these areas lower than trust and digital channels.

J.D. Power also found that 61% of consumers are often unaware or unsure about their bank’s anti-overdraft fee measures—despite how pervasive these changes have been across the industry recently.

  • Anti-fee measures are highly sought-after elements in personalization, with 46% of respondents saying they want banks to help them avoid fees and 37% expressing interest in receiving alerts for their own accounts.

What banks can do better: These vulnerabilities could negatively impact customer retention—but they’re not insurmountable. Banks can focus on making improvements in two areas.

Personalization: AI-powered offerings that offer financial advice can improve customer interactions. Examples include Bank of America’s Erica assistant; Wells Fargo’s in-app insights, Personetics; and Chase’s Digital Assistant.

  • Banks should also be aggressive in collecting and crunching data that could bolster customer experience, as Bank of America does with its 50 million data points.
  • Banks can reposition their branches to assist with outreach to specific consumer groups, such as M&T Bank’s multicultural approach and TD Bank’s customizable layout at its recently opened flagship in New York City.

Marketing: Banks need to raise awareness of consumer-friendly moves like cutting overdraft fee exposure. Suggestions from our recent reports on the CMO role—both for banking and more broadly—include:

  • Keeping up with pop culture and popular social media platforms to glean insights on how to communicate new initiatives.
  • Reaching out to public figures like social media influencers and incorporating them into marketing campaigns.
  • Prioritizing omnichannel marketing campaigns, which can help banks stay engaged with customers.
  • Interconnect marketing strategies and business strategies, which will require CMOs to cultivate close working relationships with both CEOs and CFOs.

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