Australian finance brands fall short

01 December 2011

SYDNEY: Many financial brands in Australia are failing to match the preferences of consumers in areas such as customer service and marketing, new figures show.

Thunderhead Australia, the communications firm, surveyed over 1,500 people, and found that a third of respondents would not recommend their current banking or insurance provider.

An additional 39% of contributors were also considering switching to an alternative operator in these categories, demonstrating relatively high levels of dissatisfaction.

Elsewhere, 56% of the participants agreed that the companies they did business with in this sector typically communicated with them in a fashion which failed to reflect their personal needs.

Similarly, 53% of interviewees suggested the marketing and promotional messages from these firms were generally tailored to reach the widest possible audience instead of serving individuals.

"At the moment it's all one way traffic from provider to customer with little consideration for customer preferences," Nick Smith, vice president, Asia Pacific, Thunderhead, said.

"Banking and insurance providers… need to understand not only the role of technology in their communications, but listen to how customers would like to be communicated with."

At present, 79% of the panel are sent marketing materials through the post, but a majority of this group - mirroring the opinions held by over half of the survey community - would rather receive email.

On the upside, 57% said their perceptions of providers were likely to improve if it communicated with them more personally, offering an opportunity to increase loyalty.

Almost half of the sample also agreed that experiencing "outstanding" service from banks and insurance companies could heighten the likelihood of their recommending the organisation concerned.

"Providers need to work harder to keep their customers to cut down on potential churn and benefit from the potential to expand their customer base through recommendation and referral," Smith said.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff