Customer experience quality in Australia’s financial services industry sectors remains largely undifferentiated, according to Forrester’s ‘Banking and Superannuation Customer Experience (CX) Index’ reports for 2020.
Forrester surveyed the customers of five banks – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Suncorp, and Westpac – to determine how they perceive their experiences with these banks and identify the key CX attributes that drive loyalty.
Three of the “big four” banks – CommBank, NAB, and Westpac – sit within just over 2percentage points of each other. Australian banks have been quick to adapt their CX in response to the pandemic, but it was not enough to move the needle beyond just meeting customer expectations.
Scores of all seven brands included in the superannuation industry – AMP, AustralianSuper, BT Financial, Colonial First State, MLC Australia, REST, and Sunsuper – fall within a range of just 6percentage points. In contrast to the banking industry, the superannuation firms improved their industry average by 1.3percentage points amid COVID-19, during which they experienced rapid regulatory changes that allowed customers A$15 billion in early fund releases.
Forrester’s CX Index data consistently shows that ensuring emotionally positive experiences boosts customer loyalty. Across all industries, how an experience makes customers feel has greater influence on their loyalty to a brand than the effectiveness or ease of their experiences.
In the Australian banking industry, for example, among customers who felt valued, 78% will advocate for the bank, 75% plan to spend more with the bank, and 66% plan to stay with the bank. In contrast, making customers feel annoyed and frustrated is most harmful to brand loyalty. Out of the superannuation customers who feel frustrated, just 11% will advocate for the brand, 18% say they will stay with the brand, and only 16% plan to spend more with their provider.
“While digital interactions have risen in importance because of the pandemic shutdowns, our data indicates that in-person interactions still evoked the most positive emotions for both banking and superannuation customers,” said Riccardo Pasto, senior analyst at Forrester. “When designing their customer journeys, financial services firms must prioritise a balanced experience with a hybrid approach of human interaction enabled by digital channels. Building emotional connections through digital experiences is key to improving CX and differentiating from your competitors.”