New Service Puts Spotlight on Customer Satisfaction

By Franzoni, Lauryn | American Banker, August 15, 1991 | Go to article overview
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New Service Puts Spotlight on Customer Satisfaction

Franzoni, Lauryn, American Banker

New Service Puts Spotlight On Customer Satisfaction

A research service introduced this week by the Bank Marketing Association promises to give financial institutions a better picture of customer satisfaction.

"Service quality satisfaction analysis" will rate 72 items, such as prices, teller abilities, and time spent in line, for importance to customers. The client bank will be rated on performance in each area.

The service is intended to complement more traditional research, such as mystery shoppers and comment cards.

"As community banks, we instinctively gave good service," said Biff Motley, executive vice president of marketing for Premier Bank, which has grown through mergers into a $4 billion-asset institution in Louisiana. "Now, as a big bank, we have to manage it."

Help in Getting the Job Done

The Chicago-based trade group said the service will let banks gauge performance cost-effectively. "There are three kinds of help members look to us for," said J. Douglas Adamson, executive vice president. "They want help understanding what they need to do, ways to learn how to do it, and help getting it done. The more traditional conferences, seminars, books, and publications help with the first two," while the new product "is more an answer to the third."

Survey questions will be mailed to a randomly selected group of the bank's clients. The BMA predicts a 20% response rate, but tests have generated returns as high as 33%. Responses will be grouped for insights into reliability of service, responsiveness, competence, clarity, courtesy, accessibility, features, and appearance. Demographic information, such as age and income, will also be included.

The study, including tabulation, reports, and action plan based on the analysis, costs $6,500. For a more detailed breakdown, institutions can receive an analysis of a particular branch for $1,500.

Almost all bank marketers say service quality is important to bank management, according to a study just released by the trade group. Yet only 42% regularly monitor service quality, and just 44% conduct customer-satisfaction research on a regular basis.

"The industry has advanced in every area we've studied," Mr. Adamson said. "The bad news is that better is not good enough."

Premier Bank officials were pleasantly surprised by the survey's effectiveness.

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