Banking on service

BANKS’ recent efforts to make their services more accessible and convenient appear to have been in vain, according to a new study.

The use of technology to improve service has met with a cool response from the public, which has a greater interest in personal service than in convenient access.

The Bank Account study by Henderson Parker showed wealthier customers were more likely to be dissatisfied with their bank than poorer ones.

The study may be interpreted two ways. Either banks aren’t doing enough to look after their wealthier clients, who have the ability to pay for better service, or wealthy customers are more difficult to please.

The study indicates that banks’ efforts to utilise technology to make banking more convenient and accessible may be misdirected, given that earnings are continually increasing and customers are demanding more face-to-face attention.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that, five years ago, the number of people earning more than $1000 a week represented around 10 per cent of the workforce. Now, about 20 per cent fit within this bracket, making their wishes increasingly hard to ignore.

While those earning more wanted better personal service, those on lower incomes were content with receiving convenient access and greater choice of banking channels.

For low-income earners more complex and inter-personal procedures involving face-to-face banking and loan services are not a priority.

Customers on incomes of more than $55,000 per annum said interpersonal contact was a priority and newer technologies were less desirable. They tend to care less about accessible branches.

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