Technology developments have given consumers new standards and expectations banks in Southeast Asia and the Middle East must meet to satisfy them and win their loyalty, according to research on retail banking done by the software and technical services company, SunGard.
Results of the research have been recently published in the "SunGard Bank Readiness Report 2013" with the survey done by the consultancy firm, Loudhouse Research.
Done during the third quarter of this year, the sample size involved a total of 1000 consumers in emerging markets in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, namely: the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Middle Class at Least
Participants had at least one primary banking relationship and were at least middle class in social and economic status. Comments asked them dealt with the following:
1) The ways they presently interacted with banks
2) Their attitudes towards the institutions, products, and services they presently were using
3) Improvements they wanted in their banking services
"The true challenge for retail banks today is to support the whole channel mix, not just its digital platforms," the SunGard research report said.
Banks must ensure complete visibility of the digital channels throughout the bank infrastructure, including staff and branches, according to the report.
"The consistency, automation, and simplicity inspired by the self-service customer experience must now be reflected in and supported by the more traditional channels," it added.
A holistic, integrated, consistent approach to service channels could drive retail banks' sales, loyalty, profitability, and growth in these emerging markets, it said.
Among the key findings on which the SunGard key findings were made were the following:
1) Trust in their banks by consumers is high, but this does not guarantee loyalty
2) Banks are ignoring demand for an improved, integrated, and multichannel experience
3) The quest for convenience, product range, and personalized service is driving multiple banking experience.
"I trust my bank" was a statement 75 percent of respondents said they agreed with. More than half of the respondents or 56 percent said they were "fairly satisfied" and more than one third at 34 percent said they were "very satisfied" with their primary bank.
"But while banks are trusted by consumers, this does not guarantee loyalty," the report said.
Only 17 percent of respondents said lack of trust in a single bank was their reason for banking with more than one bank.
Convenience (65 percent), product range (44 percent), and spreading risks (35 percent) were the major reasons cited for multiple banking relationships.
The dominance of convenience and product range implied that primary banks had failed to meet respondents' expectations, according to the report.
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