Customer Satisfaction With Australia's Major Banks Hits An All-Time High, But Not Where It Matters Most

Getty/Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Roy Morgan released its latest report on major bank customer satisfaction today, and the “satisfaction level of the personal customers of banks reached an eighteen year record high of 82.4% in September, up from 82.3% in August.”

That is an incredibly strong outcome given recent finanical planning “issues”, which have clearly not tarnished the banks brands in any way, it seems.

But as with all data, dig a little bit deeper and a very different picture emerges. It reveals the satisfaction ratios are propped up by lower income Australians with higher income earners and business far less enamoured with the majors.

Bank Customer Satisfaction by Personal Income – Source: Roy Morgan

Of the Big Four, the CBA which has “retained a narrow lead” overall with 81.1% satisfaction, just ahead of Westpac with 81%. But the tables reverse when the so-called “major financial institution” is overlayed with the CBA trailing Westpac 82.4% to 83.8%. Even the ANZ sneaks ahead of it on this basis with a personal customer satisfaction level of 82.6%.

Consumer Banking Satisfaction: Big Four Banks (Source:Roy Morgan)

Perhaps this helps explain why it is so hard to get Australian business’ “animal spirits” running. The survey shows that satisfaction at the business banking level is far weaker across the Big Four as a whole and each individual institution. In fact, it’s falling.

Business and Consumer Banking Satisfaction (Source: Roy Morgan)

Plenty of work here to build better relationships with the engine of Australia’s economic transition.

Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research said that:

“The issue now facing the banks is how to raise the satisfaction and advocacy levels of the customers who offer the greatest business potential. We have seen here that the customers with the lowest satisfaction levels are the personal customers on higher incomes ($90,000 plus) and business customers. Both of these groups offer the greatest potential and yet their satisfaction levels are well below the lower value customers and are in fact back at the levels seen for the overall market that we saw five years ago.”

It’s a bank manager’s worst nightmare: losing ground on the high-value clients while keeping the low value clients happy.

There is little sign it is impact profitability just yet, but Morris says if the majors don’t get their act together with these high-value customer and “create a clear satisfaction and advocacy leadership positioning among the higher value customers or they will face increased competition from specialised banks and other financial institutions that will focus solely on these lucrative segments”.

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