December 13, 2013

In many cases banks are managing their customer complaints in a sub-optimal manner, or even not taking them as seriously as they should, according to a new report from Carlisle & Gallagher.

In September 2013, the firm polled more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and conducted interviews with 20 financial services executives at the top 10 U.S. financial institution to uncover the important drivers for financial institutions to be successful in managing customer complaints. Among the key findings, the survey found that about one-third of consumers experienced a problem at their bank that was not completely resolved. Further, among problems that were resolved, 72 percent required two or more interactions to do so.

"We found that having to go through multiple interactions to resolve a problem is a real tipping point for customers," says Patricia Sahm, Ph.D., CG’s Customer Experience and Channels Practice Lead. "When you can solve a problem for a customer in a single interaction, they have a higher level of confidence and feel valued."

The study also found that core banking products tend to frustrate customers the most. 38 percent of complaints to banks are about personal checking, 14 percent related to credit cards, 12 percent about mortgages and 12 percent about debit cards.

Sahm says these products are "gateway products" to a deeper financial relationship, and if a customer has a bad experience with a basic checking account, for example, if will lessen the chance they will purchase more complicated financial products from the bank.