Surprise! Banks Got Better At Customer Experience

In Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CxPi), we ranked 114 companies across 12 different industries. As part of that research stream, I am publishing reports on each of the industries. The first one published is a snapshot of the banking industry results. It turns out that banks, as a group, made the largest improvement of any of the 12 industries. And they needed it!

In June 2007, I write a report called Banks Prepare For Customer Experience Wars. After a decade of focusing on mergers and acquisition as their strategy for growth, big banks were beginning to concentrate on organic growth. To succeed, they needed to improve the experiences they deliver to existing customers. Why? My research uncovered a very strong correlation between customer experience and loyalty.

Here are some of the highlights of the banking results:

  • Banks really improved. In last year’s CxPi, banks ended in 6th place out of nine industries. This year, banks had the highest increase in average score (+7%) and ended up in 4th place out of 12 industries — only falling behind retailers, hotels, and insurers.
  • Credit unions lead. With the only overall “excellent” rating, credit unions easily topped the list of banks in the CxPi – taking the top spot for the second year in a row. Next in line was National City which was the only bank to receive a “good” rating.
  • JPMorgan Chase lags. JP Morgan Chase ended at the bottom of the list with a rating of “poor” – taking over the bottom spot from last year’s cellar dweller Citibank.
  • SunTrust and National City shine in some areas. Credit unions were at the top of the list for all three components  of the CxPi. For usefulness, SunTrust received the second highest score and Washington Mutual fell to the bottom. For ease of use, National City and Wells Fargo were ranked second and third, while JPMorgan was ranked last. For enjoyability, Citibank, Capital One, and JPMorgan Chase all received “very poor” ratings.
  • U.S. Bancorp leads the improvement bandwagon. U.S. Bancorp made the most headway of any bank (+18%). SunTrust Bank and Citibank also had double-digit improvements in CxPi. Wachovia Bank, on the other hand, was the only bank with an overall decline in its CxPi.

The bottom line: Kudos to banks for improving; hopefull they’ll keep it up.

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