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Banks in Danger From Dissatisfied Customers

A study from research company GfK found that while a few banks have won over their customers with excellent service and benefits, others are in imminent danger of losing up to a third of their consumer clients.

USAA and Citizens Bank topped a recent customer loyalty survey conducted by research company GfK, while several banks were found to be in danger of losing clients due to customer experience issues.

The GfK Loyalty Benchmark study covered 10 major U.S. banks, and while a few have won over their customers with excellent service and benefits, others are in imminent danger of losing up to a third of their consumer clients, according to GfK.

USAA and Citizens Bank showed the highest year-over-year increases in overall customer loyalty scores, with gains of 6 points and 3 points, respectively. Overall, four of the banks studied registered loyalty scores at or above the average of 79 points. According to GfK, the analysis takes into account current and intended customer behavior ( such as likelihood to recommend and plans for future use), as well as emotional and rational ties.

The study also examined four key segments of customers in terms of their loyalty – Loyal Advocates, Hostages (defined as those troubled by sources of dissatisfaction), Ambivalent (those generally satisfied but still at risk of being lured away), and Exit Bound.

In general, all four segments have been stable year to year, with a slight increase in Loyal Advocates, the study found. Forty-six percent of all banking customers are in the Ambivalent category – about double the percentage of Loyal Advocates (25 percent).

USAA (62 percent) and Sun Trust (30 percent) ranked highest in Loyal Advocates; but 18 percent of all bank customers are Exit Bound, with 8 of 10 banks scoring at or above the average, the study found. In two unnamed banks, roughly one-third of their customers are strongly dissatisfied and very likely to switch institutions.

The study was conducted in March and April 2012 among 3,009 members of the online GfK Consumer Panel.

[See Also: Key to Building Bank Customer Loyalty Is Disruptive Innovation]

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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