Financial Technology

Financial Technology

September 24, 2013

Maritz Study Shows Bank Customer Communications Needs Improvement

If you struggle to make sense of your bank's offerings and policies time and time again, you are not alone. A recent study by Maritz Research sheds light on the many problems associated with bank customer communications.

The 2013 Bank Communications Compliance Study analyzed the experiences of 780 mystery shoppers who made in-person branch location visits and telephone calls to six leading U.S. banks earlier in the year. The audits were conducted through Maritz Research's CrowsNestTM, an independent assessment solution that makes financial service providers aware of any potential noncompliance with customer protection regulations and thus helps to reduce the risk of penalties or fines that would occur if the noncompliance issues were let unresolved.

The mystery shoppers in this study discussed various situations with bank customer service representatives including applying for a credit card, opening a checking account and overdraft fees.

According to the study, one-third of customers posses a limited understanding of a bank's credit card offerings and nearly half of customers reported having a low to average understanding.

What's more is that at least 25 percent of the time customers are not presented with information on key elements related to credit card offerings with three out of four customers not being told about things such as minimum payments and late fees.

Additionally, despite many customers reporting that the banks treat them fairly and honestly there are many that don't share the same sentiment. Reasons for this include feeling rushed when speaking to the customer rep, receiving vague information and the customer rep being more concerned about making a sale rather than focusing on the consumers' needs.

“The results of our study indicate that banks and credit card providers have some work ahead of them to protect customers from confusing information and to avoid paying millions in fines,” Michael Matza, senior strategic consulting director of the Financial Services Research Group at Maritz Research, said in a statement. “Through CrowsNest, we can help banks identify and address concerns – like confusing terms and conditions – before they become an issue for both the bank and the customer.”

In the release, Matza suggested that banks can immediately address these issues by working on improving their written content, such as in brochures and on websites, as well as enhance training for customer service representatives.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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