Get customer service right in five minutes or I'll switch to another lender, warn a third of customers

One third of UK and Ireland customers say they would switch to another lender if they don’t get a satisfactory response in five minutes or less on a mortgage or loan query, according to research from analytics leader SAS. The research also highlights that 75 per cent of customers would change lenders if a competitor offered a faster service.

The findings were revealed as part of SAS’ report, Hyperautomation: Using AI to transform your business, which shows the true impact of digitalisation on the banking sector and the shift in customer expectations. A sample of 1,513 people in the UK and Ireland were asked about their expectations and experiences of customer service.

The report warns of dire consequences for banks that fail to offer seamless customer experiences. To keep pace with fast-evolving customer expectations and drive retention, banks must deliver efficient, frictionless customer journeys across all channels.

While customers are placing a high value on speed and convenience, they are not prepared to sacrifice quality of service. More than half (56 per cent) only want experiences to be faster if this also guarantees no mistakes are made or a better service is delivered. Achieving speed and quality requires hyper-efficiency from organisations – a quality only achievable through technology capable of intelligent decision-making.

This desire for speed and convenience is made clear through changing customer habits. Over two-thirds of customers (67 per cent) now primarily engage with banks using digital means. The majority favour using mobile apps (31 per cent) or websites (21 per cent), with just 11 per cent using email.

Less than a third of those surveyed choose to engage with banks in person (12 per cent) or on the telephone (19 per cent). It therefore perhaps unsurprising then that a number of high street banks have announced planned closures of a number of branches in 2022. 

Efficiencies must translate into great customer experiences

As the cost of living soars, banks nevertheless have the ability to foster trust from consumers by providing rapid, high-quality services made possible through technology.

Business leaders and decision-makers agreed improvements in workforce productivity (38 per cent), employee satisfaction (34 per cent), and costs (34 per cent), were seen during the pandemic due to hyperautomation. The process enables a faster, quality service where it’s also possible to pass cost savings on to customers.

Gartner defines hyperautomation as a business-driven, disciplined approach that organisations use to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible. Hyperautomation involves the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, tools or platforms, including AI and machine learning.

Overall, the results show that banks need to make customers feel like they are being understood by delivering quality experiences and outcomes quickly and efficiently. The current views reflect the fact that online services primarily consist of basic robotic process automation and unintelligent chatbots, rather than the fast, intelligent online experience that is possible with hyperautomation.

Speaking about the report findings, Johnny Steele, Head of Banking, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “With a growing appetite for speed and convenience, as well as ever-increasing expectations on quality of service, now is the time for banks to embrace hyperautomation to deliver greater efficiency and offer frictionless experiences which delight customers.”

“Without this, organisations will be overtaken by the competition and fail to foster long-term loyalty. Modern cloud-based AI solutions and use of low code/no code, make it possible to have hyperautomation solutions up and running quickly and enable use of the technology across a broader section of the workforce.”

To see the full results of the survey and learn more about hyperautomation, read the report by SAS entitled Hyperautomation: Using AI to transform your business.

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