USAA, ING Direct and PNC/National City lead U.S. banks with the highest customer retention potential, according to a new report from Forrester Research. The report also found that Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are the leaders in driving sales and attracting new customers.
In the report, titled "What Drives Retention And Sales In US Banking?" Forrester used used regression analysis to identify the quantitative relationship between consumers’ brand and product associations and their brand preferences and purchase behaviors at 10 major banks. The most important attribute, the report found, was customer experience.
"Gone are the days when companies could simply offer their services and customers could choose to take them or leave them — today, companies need to be customer-obsessed," reads a portion of the report. "An important step in being customer-obsessed is developing an understanding of current and potential customers’ needs — and, in doing so, uncovering what drives business."
When it comes to sales, Forrester found that the top driver for purchase intent is the perception of the bank being trustworthy; charging low or no fees and having good customer service closely follow. Perceptions of product and channel-based offerings — like having many locations, having a good APR, and offering a variety of products — positively influence consumers’ choice of bank for future purchases but trail behind trustworthiness, charging low fees, and having good customer service.
Regarding customer retention, The most important attribute that keeps customers loyal is the perception of being trustworthy, the report found. Being perceived as trustworthy has almost twice the impact on likelihood to not switch banks as having good customer service, the second most influential driver.
According to the report, USAA, ING Direct and PNC were the leaders in being perceived as trustworthy and having good customer service by existing customers, which led to those banks topping the customer retention list. By contrast, Bank of America and Citi have the lowest associations for these same attributes among their respective customers, even though they ranked among the top banks likely to attract new customers. Citi and Bank of America had the highest percentage of their customers likely to switch providers — 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, compared with just 1 percent of USAA customers and 2 percent of ING Direct customers.