This bank or that bank? What drives today's consumers
What motivates you as a consumer? Is it convenience? Affordability? Brand values? The pros and cons of any business can go on and on, which makes it incredibly challenging to figure out exactly what drives consumers today.
In an attempt to find an answer, personal finance and bank comparison firm Credio polled more than 3,000 people about what they like and dislike with their preferred financial institution - and why they use this bank over that other bank.
Small banks have a leg up
The initial data from Credio found an interesting trend: Smaller banks may have an advantage over their larger competitors.
"Satisfied customers trend toward regional banks."
Specifically, regional banks have more satisfied customers than the mega-financial institutions. And what factors are consumers so satisfied over? Based on the survey results, mobile and online tools were responsible for 31 percent of overall retail banking satisfaction. In second was customer support at 29 percent.
In close third, however, was ATM and branch availability with 27 percent of the vote. This goes to show that the bank branch is stronger than many think. In fact, the Financial Brand recently spoke to CFI Group CEO Sheri Petras about the state of bank branches.
"Banks must recognize the continuing importance of having a strong, well-run branch presence," explained Petras. "Consumers still choose their banks primarily based on the proximity of the branch locations."
It seems that regional banks have the advantage over their bigger competitors because they can offer up more personalized service, both online and in branches.
Why do customers switch banks?
While smaller banks can often tailor their service directly to their customers, there are other factors that come into play regarding whether or not a person will opt for this bank over that bank.
Based on the Credio survey, the biggest reason is customer service. A few other key factors include the variety of accounts and website satisfaction. These tie back into ease of use and convenience. Consumers want to use one bank for a wide range of needs, and they want to do it on their schedule. Technology, like online and mobile banking, can help with that.
Another, perhaps surprising, reason for customers switching banks is branch locations. People want to be able to bank on their terms, and many times that actually means going into a branch. Would you choose the bank with convenient locations near your home and business, or one that was far out of the way? These are the same reasons driving today's consumers.
Consumers willing to promote their banks
These same reasons are also why many consumers will actively recommend their preferred banks to their peers. Better customer service, according to Credio, means more people will promote their banks.
Variety of accounts, website satisfaction and fees also got people talking. Of course, branch locations was also on the list. One interesting note is that mobile app satisfaction did little in terms of promotion. Whether it was good or not, consumers didn't factor it in when recommending their favorite bank.
The bottom line is that consumer satisfaction goes above and beyond technology. While consumers do care about online and mobile services, they want a bank that offers a more well-rounded product. Furthermore, the Credio survey found that 41 percent of consumers choose their primary bank based on ATM and branch availability, compared to only 16 percent for online or mobile tools.
For banks large and small, it is about capitalizing on all these elements to not only draw in consumers, but get them to stick around and start promoting the brand as well.