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Customer Complaint Management Lacking at Banks

A new survey from Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group finds that complaints often take multiple interactions to resolve.

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.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 2:20:11 PM
re: Customer Complaint Management Lacking at Banks
You have a point there - banks probably allot more resources for customers who purchase advanced products and bring more business. However, it shouldn't take that much hassle to resolve issues with simple products. If I had to call my bank more than twice to fix a problem with my checking account, I'd be annoyed too.
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 1:24:46 PM
re: Customer Complaint Management Lacking at Banks
That is true, a lot more people have free checking than say, a Roth IRA, and thus there is bound to be more complaints. At the same time, customers who only have these "basic" products also tend to be the least valuable to banks, maybe institutions just put more resources to tending to their customers that have more complicated financial products?
Becca L
Becca L,
User Rank: Author
12/16/2013 | 6:41:38 AM
re: Customer Complaint Management Lacking at Banks
"The study also found that core banking products tend to frustrate customers the most." I wonder if that's just due to the frequency of use - as a hazard of high volume they are bound to attract more trouble and attention. Still, these are disappointing results that are in support of an earlier BS&T article on the slight uptick of customer satisfaction in the last year.
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