A series of studies by J.D. Power among bank and credit card mobile app and online users conducted in Canada revealed that a combination of increased financial stress on the part of consumers and lack of personalization in digital channels have driven year-over-year decreases in customer satisfaction across most digital channels evaluated.
The company conducted four studies: the 2022 Canada Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study, the 2022 Canada Online Banking Satisfaction Study, the 2022 Canada Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, and the 2022 Canada Online Credit Card Satisfaction Study, to track customer satisfaction with banking and credit card providers’ websites and mobile apps. The studies are based on responses from 8,267 retail bank and credit card customers nationwide and were fielded from February through April 2022.
The study revealed that RBC Royal Bank ranked highest in banking mobile app satisfaction, TD Canada Trust ranked second and Scotiabank ranked third.
Additionally, CIBC ranked highest in online banking satisfaction, Scotiabank ranked second and RBC ranked third.
In the credit card mobile app satisfaction category, Tangerine Bank was ranked the highest, followed by RBC.
While the survey ranks which banks are succeeding in their digital platforms, are there factors that truly make an effective mobile banking app?
Jennifer White, senior consultant for banking and payment intelligence at J.D. Power said overall satisfaction with banking and credit card digital channels are based on four factors: information and content, navigation, speed, and visual appeal.
“When a financial institution is performing better, and outperforming another, they are typically outperforming all four of those categories,” White said.
She also noted that aside from those four factors, J.D. Power also looks into specific experiences when measuring how good or bad an app is. Making sure the app is functioning the way that the customers want it to is essential.
“So in that space, we’re looking for personalized screen design. We’re looking at security. Security is very critical. And then there is some measure of how easy it is to use tools. So there is a usability measure in there as well,” White said.
The studies also revealed that among retail bank customers who visit their bank’s branch, 65 per cent said they have a personal relationship with that bank. Among those who primarily use the bank’s digital channels, that percentage falls to 50 per cent.
These statistics show that many of Canadian banks’ digital solutions are not offering a personalized experience by directing customers to the tools or information most relevant to their needs.
“There’s two layers of personalization,” White said. “So in the world of digital personalization, that often means custom screen design. If somebody opens up their app and goes immediately to check their balances, then that should be what opens up first. What we’re referring to when we say they [banks] are missing the mark, is really in the adoption and awareness space of digital tools.”
For example, if a bank sends all of its customers the same email that says they have built a new budgeting tool, there will be portions of that customer base who, due to their financial circumstances or because of their age, will have no use for the news or fail to understand it.
“If you send a customized message to a financially healthy customer that talks about a budgeting tool that’s available for them to save for a large purchase or vacation, and then you send a separate email to a financially vulnerable customer… that talks about the ability to save to pay down debt. It has a different resonance. That’s where banks are missing the mark,” White said.
Over the past two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, banks have all increased their usage of digital tools. But banks weren’t the only ones updating their digital platforms. Digital usage increased across several industries, which means the bar by which banks are measured was raised, she noted.
White added that in order for banks to connect with their customers and provide the right services, they need to keep up with the changing demands for digital banking and truly understand the needs of each customer.
“If banks are just trying to keep up versus being innovative in this space, there is the threat that they will fall behind,” she said.