Customer satisfaction falling flat for digital banking experiences

The massive investments made by banks in mobile offerings have yet to show dividends in terms of elevating customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction with retail banks in Canada was high before the outbreak of COVID-19, but satisfaction is falling flat in the critical area of digital banking experiences, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

“Canadian banks have seen, for the most part, significant improvements in customer satisfaction related to products and fees, reasonableness of fees and problem resolution,” said John Cabell, director of banking and payments intelligence at J.D. Power, in a news release. “At the same time, the massive investments made by banks in mobile offerings have yet to show dividends in terms of elevating customer satisfaction. As many more customers must now reluctantly rely heavily on remote access to banking services due to COVID-19, rapid improvements in online and mobile are critical for Canadian banks to grow their retail business.”

The study said overall satisfaction among banking customers in Canada has risen by five points to 790 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2019, mainly driven by increases in score by the Big 5 banks. Overall satisfaction among midsize bank customers decreased two points to 796 from a year ago.

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“Alarmingly, while overall mobile banking usage increases this year to 63 per cent from 55 per centa year ago, customer satisfaction with banks’ mobile offerings has declined significantly year over year to 828 from 832. The decline in mobile banking satisfaction occurs across all age and income groups, with the sharpest drops among Gen X[ customers (-10 points) and affluent customers (-10),” said the study.

“According to the study, 49 per cent of customers in Canada rely heavily on online and mobile banking, with 33 per cent being defined as digital-only customers who predominantly use mobile or the internet for their banking needs. Overall satisfaction is lowest (777) among this group of digital banking customers, compared with branch-dependent digital customers (799) and branch-only customers (783). The low satisfaction of digital-only customers should be an alert to banks as more customers favour digital interaction over use of branches.”

Among the Big 5 banks, RBC Royal Bank ranks highest with a score of 794. TD Canada Trust (790) ranks second. The segment average is 788.

Among midsize banks, Tangerine ranks highest for a ninth consecutive year, with a score of 839. Simplii Financial (819) ranks second and ATB Financial (801) ranks third.

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