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Most banks 'struggling to keep pace with customers'

Dubai, June 19, 2012

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, said a study.

The study, which comprised two surveys involving more than 1,000 consumers and 100 banks in eight countries across the Middle East and South East Asia region, was conducted by Celent on behalf of leading software and technology services company SunGard.

The research investigated how prepared banks are to respond to the needs of their retail customers. Building on the research, Celent has developed the Bank Readiness Index (BRI) on behalf of SunGard, an online tool to help banks benchmark their ability to cater to customer expectations.

The SunGard BRI uses 17 parameters and aggregates banks’ capabilities across four metrics, including multi-channel and customer metrics.

According to the study, 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 (i.e. built for Android or iPhone) only 25 per cent are doing so in the Middle East, the study revealed.

According to the research, less than 40 per cent of banks offer personalized 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 personalized landing pages or the ability for users to tailor content.

Of the banks surveyed, only (31 per cent) integrate with shopping or discount programs and even fewer (27 per cent) offer personal financial management capability online.

In an interesting remaark, the Celent research said, 'Consumers are talking on Facebook, but banks are not “listening.” About 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.' The survey pointed out that only 38 per cent of banks monitor social media.

Consumer enthusiasm towards their bank is modest at best, the survey said. 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.

On the research, Bob Meara, senior analyst, Celent, said: 'Consumers in the emerging markets feel banks are not doing enough to understand their needs. While consumer trust is evident, banks must capitalise on the opportunity to get better handle on changing customer habits and engagement strategies to help maintain customer loyalty.'

Dean Young, VP of product management, SunGard’s banking unit, said: 'Increasingly, online channels present consumers with more freedom to ‘shop around’. Banks need the ability to understand customers’ needs to create better user experience, which in turn will help capitalize on cross-sell opportunities, build customer loyalty and boost profitability.'

'The SunGard BRI will help banks in emerging markets gain a true picture of just how ready and capable they are to meet customer demands and develop offerings to meet their customers’ needs and preferences,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Middle East | banks | Software | research | technology | emerging markets | customers | SunGard | Celent |

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