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47% of bank customers who receive effective advice open new accounts

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47% of bank customers who receive effective advice open new accounts

J.D. Power U.S. banking study 2023

A challenging economy that puts many consumer’s personal finances in question makes it more important than ever for banks to offer thoughtful guidance as part of the experience they deliver, based on recent data from J.D. Power.

The Michigan-based data analytics provider surveyed more than 101,400 customers over the course of a year to produce its 18th annual 2023 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

While nearly half of those who received effective advice opened a new account, the research found only 21 per cent said they were getting that kind of guidance from their bank. The need for insight as well as banking services was also highlighted by the fact that the proportion of customers considered financially unhealthy rose nine per cent over the past year.

The study also countered the notion that consumers are primarily focused on shifting towards digital channels to access services such as banking. In fact, 38 per cent described their bank branch as essential, and 72 per cent said they plan to visit their branch at the same rate over the coming year.

“Although our study was conducted prior to the recent high-profile bank crisis, the difficult economic conditions that contributed to the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank failures have been building for quite some time,” J.D. Power said in a statement accompanying the publication of its study. “For banks to attain high marks in
satisfaction and build the enduring loyalty that comes with it, customers need to feel supported through tough economic times. They need to be able to conduct their business with ease and feel like their funds are safe and secure.”

360 Magazine Insight

You might assume that the popularity of branches is primarily limited to older customer cohorts like Baby Boomers. You’d be wrong: J.D. Power found 21 per cent of those under 40 plan to increase their rate of visits to a physical location over the next year.

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As financial decisions become more challenging — and perhaps as financial services products become more complex — this is an area where banks can’t rely on customers navigating apps and web sites to get the answers they need. This puts more pressure on institutions to staff branches effectively and put in measures to minimize wait times.

It would be interesting to have this research dig a little deeper to define what effective advice means, exactly.  There is a difference, for example, in helping customers choose the right investments for their retirement savings plan and helping them set up electronic billing.

Simple communication might be the first step in improving bank’s CX. For instance, the study confirmed at least one no-brainer: those that told customers how to avoid fees saw a substantial lift in both satisfaction and trust scores.

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