Canadians shrug off bank fees and look to self service

By Andrew Rickard | July 29 2016 11:29AM

Photo: Freepik

A survey conducted by marketing information firm J.D. Power reveals that more Canadians are pleased with their banks, even though many have seen fee increases. The study also found that more customers are using mobile banking channels and reports higher levels of satisfaction with self-serve options.

J.D. Power's 2016 Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction Study grades customer satisfaction on a 1000 point scale. The report reveals that overall satisfaction with the Big 5 banks has increased from 737 last year to 760 in 2016, while mid-sized bank customers satisfaction levels increased from 737 to 759. J.D. Power points out that customer satisfaction has improved even though 25% of Big 5 bank customers saw a change in their fee structure and 16% indicate that new fees were introduced.

Clients less sensitive to new pricing

“The improvements indicate that customers are becoming less sensitive to new pricing structures, which caused satisfaction to tumble in 2015,” says Paul McAdam, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power. “The banks are doing a better job communicating with their customers, who now are seeing the value they are getting in return for higher fees.”

The study suggests that better mobile services are particularly important because they can mitigate the negative effects of problems or complaints, maintain satisfaction with a smaller branch network, improve perceptions of available products and services, and reduce price sensitivity. J.D. Power notes that the number of bank customers who use mobile banking channels has increased from 27% in 2015 to 34% in 2016, and that overall satisfaction tends to be higher among mobile customers: their satisfaction levels are 836, compared to the 760 for those who do not use the channel.

Self-service via mobile techology

“Self-service makes banking more convenient for customers, with mobile technology being a key element of self-service,” comments McAdam. “Despite the growing number of digital channel interactions, there is more that banks can do to drive customers to self-service channels for routine transactions, which make it easier for the customer and more cost-effective for the bank.”

RBC was the top raking Big 5 bank with an overall customer satisfaction score of 765, while Tangerine was the highest-ranking mid-sized bank with a score of 840.