this survey last week that revealed 53% of UK banks fail to respond appropriately to online queries or emails.
A US version of the same study last year
found that of 72 banks surveyed, well over half - 67% - of firms did not provide satisfactory answers via e-mail.
These survey results are obviously good marketing hooks for IBM and Kana (which among other things sells customer email management software to banks), but based on my own experience of trying to communicate via email with my bank, the picture the surveys
reveal about the poor state of online customer service looks about right. And considering that most
banks have celebrated (or will soon) the 10 year anniversary of their online channels, it’s a pretty grim picture.
But the picture is improving, if very slowly. This most recent survey reminded me of a similar one that Unisys did back in 2001, which I reported for my publication at the time. Unisys presented the findings to journalists around the world who had been flown
on a fact-finding mission (i.e. jolly) to their
lovely centre in St. Paul de Vence in the foothills behind Nice. This might have helped that particular survey stick in my mind. (In fact, I seem to remember that prolific Finextra blogger Chris Skinner, at Unisys at the time, was hosting the event).
In 2001, Unisys found that of the top 400 global banks (as ranked in The Banker), only 306 had websites. And of these, only 142 had contact details, communication channels or emails addresses listed on their site. When contacted, only 88 replied, but only
64 replied with an acceptable response (the other 24 replied with form letters that gave no way for the bank to establish a dialogue with the customer).
The Unisys survey was global, and online banking adoption obviously proceeded at different rates in different countries. But if you can set this aside it would seem that in 6 years we’ve gone from 16% of banks being able to respond to an email or online
query, to 47% (if you take the latest UK figure). Progress, certainly, but not much when you consider how far banking and technology have come in that time.