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Customer experience in Kenya the worst globally, bank survey shows

Wednesday March 19 2014
CUSTOMERSURVEY_PIX

PHOTO/SALATON NJAU From left: Ernst & Young East and Central Africa regional leader, advisory services Celestine Munda, partner, transaction advisory services Anthony Muthusi and senor manager Akshay Shah during the release of global consumer banking survey for 2014 at the Nairobi Safari Club on March 19, 2014.

By LILIAN OCHIENG'

Kenyan banking customers experience the most problems when dealing with their banks compared to their global peers, a new survey shows.

A report by Ernst & Young released on Wednesday shows that more than half of the customers in Kenya reported a bad experience when transacting, compared to a third of bank customers globally.

The survey titled, ‘Winning through customer experience’, was carried out in 43 countries with responses from 32,000 retail banking customers.

While releasing the results, Ernst & Young head of advisory services for East and Central Africa Celestine Munda blamed the problems on aggressive uptake of technology innovations by banks, creating technical hitches that trickle down to customers.

PROMPT KENYAN BANKS

“The customers, however, report that they are always satisfied with the resolutions when problems are solved,” Ms Munda said.

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The survey points out that the high number of problems should prompt Kenyan banks to improve their efficiency in problem-solving.

The local financial sector ranks among the top users of technology, especially mobile phone, which has leap-frogged financial inclusion from less than 20 per cent in 2006 to over 65 per cent by 2012.

On a positive side, Kenya ranks equally highly on customers expressing most confidence in the financial services, explained by banks’ ability to resolve and explain issues to customers.

The study shows that 62 per cent of Kenyans express strong advocacy for their financial service providers followed by South Africans at 51 per cent and Nigerians at 46 per cent.

Kenyans cited the ability to withdraw cash via cellphones and ATMs as the main cause of their confidence in banks. This is contrary to the 93 per cent of customers globally who cited the way they are treated as what makes them trust their banks.

From the survey, 86 per cent of Kenyan customers are keen on getting access to financial experts to help them reach their financial goals. This, compared to the African average, which is 78 per cent, is considered a very high figure, Ms Munda noted.

The study states that Kenyan banking customers are now finding it important to keep up with new ways of saving money, learn about mobile banking features, the reputation of banks and their ability to protect customers’ financial information.

The study found that banks need to offer customised products to their customers to fit their needs at a lower cost. This is because in the past 12 months, 52 per cent of customers globally have opened or closed at least one product, and 40 per cent plan to do so in 2014.

CLOSE ACCOUNTS

“More than ever, banks are under pressure to not only retain their customers, but also to grow their customer base. While 60 per cent of survey respondents did not have definite plans to open or close accounts in the next year, this should not be interpreted as loyalty,” said the report.

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