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Some emerging market banks ‘failing expectations’

New research has found that banks in some of the world’s fastest-growing emerging markets are struggling to keep up with changing customer expectations, particularly in multi-channel areas such as social media and mobility.

The research, undertaken by Celent on behalf of SunGard, consisted of two surveys of more than 1,000 consumers and 100 banks in eight countries across the Middle East and South East Asia. It investigated how prepared banks are to respond to customer needs. Building on the research, Celent has developed the Bank Readiness Index (BRI), an online tool to help banks benchmark their ability to cater to the expectations of their customers. The SunGard BRI uses 17 parameters and aggregates banks’ capabilities across four metrics, including multi-channel and customer metrics.

Key findings of the research revealed:

Banks lag customer demand for a multichannel experience: Most consumers are prolific online and mobile users yet many of the surveyed banks do not offer a fully integrated multi-channel experience. Only 34 per cent of Southeast Asian banks and 17 per cent  of Middle Eastern banks currently have tablet offerings and most mobile banking offerings are still basic. While 63 per cent of banks in Asia are now offering native apps (ie built for Android or iPhone) only 25 per cent are doing so in the Middle East.

Less than 40 per cent of banks offer personalised landing pages: While 88 per cent of banks surveyed offer online bill payment and 69 per cent P2P payment capability, just 39 per cent offer personalised landing pages or the ability for users to tailor content. Of the banks surveyed, only  27 per cent  offer personal financial management capability online.

Consumers are talking on Facebook, but banks are not “listening”: 90 per cent of consumers surveyed use Facebook at least weekly, with approximately half of respondents confirming they would use it to share banking experiences. While 76 per cent of banks agree that innovation in mobility and digital technology is a key opportunity to personalise offerings only 21 per cent have a fully developed social media strategy and just 13 per cent believe they are using social media to its fullest potential. Only 38 per cent monitor social media.

Consumer enthusiasm towards their bank is modest at best: Less than 50 per cent of respondents in the Middle East felt their bank understands their needs well, with just over half agreeing with this statement in Asia. Barely half of consumers perceived their bank to be a technology innovator. Just 28 per cent of bank respondents have a 360-degree customer view across products and delivery channels. Customer analytics and relationship pricing are similarly lacking.

Commenting on the research, Bob Meara, senior analyst, Celent, said, “Consumers in emerging markets feel that banks are not doing enough to understand their needs. While consumer trust is evident, banks need to capitalise on this opportunity to get a better handle on changing customer habits and engagement strategies in order to help maintain customer loyalty in the future”.

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