Suddenly, the “brand stickiness” of a well-established and valued brand has been removed from the equation of loyalty and advocacy.
The hot topic at the water cooler, supermarket checkout and bus stop is: “Which bank do you bank at?”, “Would you change to another bank?”, “How good have you found their service?”
Whatever their current persuasion, many banking customers in New Zealand are now reflecting on what it is that is actually important to them when choosing a bank.
Is it the colour of the logo and brand? Is it the service they provide to their customers? Or, is it the cold hard numbers of interest rates and bank charges?
The question of banking loyalty is suddenly on everyone’s agenda – an agenda that will no doubt bring risks to some banks and opportunities to others.
But the clear advantage will go to those who know their vulnerabilities and are able to take actions to address them.
For banks, keeping existing customers and winning new business will depend more than ever on service and great customer experiences.
Our research in retail banking already shows that the problems customers experience when banking, and the way many New Zealand banks handle customer complaints, can place between 8% and 12% of their annual profits at risk.
I’m really looking forward to the findings from our next study to see how this news may have impacted the customer retention dynamics of banking in New Zealand.
What about you? Will this change the place where you bank?
What about your business? When did you last take a really hard look at what it is that keeps your customers coming back for more – and what is it that might be driving them away?
About the author: Paul Linnell
Paul Linnell is a service improvement champion, working internationally with senior managers and their teams to help them achieve business success, reduce risk and build customer loyalty and advocacy by improving service to customers. Paul specialises in the design and deployment of customer experience measurement, service quality improvement, complaints handling and preventive analysis programmes. For most of his career he has worked in Europe and North America and for the past 10 years Paul has been based in New Zealand, continuing to serve clients globally.