Wake-Up Call for Retail Banks: How Long Will Customers Wait for Service?

Customer loyalty is a dying breed in retail banking today as banks consistently miss the mark on what really matters when attracting and retaining customers, according to a new Banking Customer Experience survey from TimeTrade.

Banks and retailers are suffering from the same problem – they’re selling what customers want, but they’re doing it the wrong way. This new data confirms the ‘satisfaction gap’ – customers just want someone smart enough to help them, and fast enough to be useful.

The missing link: faster, smarter service.

TimeTrade’s latest survey of more than 1,000 retail banking customers reinforces widespread dissatisfaction with bank customer service and uncovered why consumers are ditching their current banks. It adds more perspective to the conclusions shared by Ernst & Young earlier this year, which showed that one of every two banking customers is ready to bolt within the next 12 months. According to TimeTrade’s findings:

  • More than 75 percent of consumers said they had to wait ‘too long’ – or couldn’t find the right person to help them;
  • And 65 percent couldn’t get the right answers once they finally got employees’ attention

No business can survive with 75 percent customer unhappiness. And this is an easy fix. Customers want convenient, one-on-one attention. It’s time to make that connection.

The growing incursion from alternative digital banking services is another threat for retail banking as we know it today.

In a recent ABA Banking Journal article, Gartner’s managing vice president, Eric Rocco, states: “Digital business is an unstoppable and irresistible catalyst for change—change that will affect the fundamental foundations and baseline assumptions of every business. The digital business revolution is underpinned and enabled by the macro technology forces of cloud, social media, analytics…and mobility.”

Consumers couldn’t agree more: 88 percent of respondents said they’re actively considering switching to a digital banking service, such as Venmo or LendingTree.

The demand for improvement is massive and urgent, with 9 of 10 consumers saying they had to wait for the right person to help them; the ‘right person’ meaning an associate that knows exactly how to answer their questions. That’s a tremendous disconnect when 95 percent said personalized service is one of the top considerations when choosing a bank.

Banks have ignored their customer service shortcomings for too long, and now they are paying the price. If retail banks want to thrive – rather than continue on their downward spirals – anticipating, and exceeding, customer expectations must top the priority list.

So what are retail banks doing to address consumer demands? Check out our latest national survey of retail banking executives, the 2015 State of Banking report.


Written by Chris Carroll

I'm the Product Marketing Manager at TimeTrade. I focus on the customer experience of the product and use our customer learnings to help update our workflows and create materials to help train our users. I also focus on our client facing marketing programs, social media initiatives, and content curation.

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