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Bank customers' satisfaction up

By Wang Xiaotian (China Daily)

13:37, July 11, 2012

Customer satisfaction with retail banks in China has improved this year due to "significant" increases in satisfaction with fees and problem resolution, according to a survey released by JD Power Asia Pacific Inc on Tuesday.

Overall satisfaction in 2012 improved by two points to 687 on a 1,000-point scale from 2011, after having experienced an eight-point decline in 2010, the company said. Customer satisfaction with fees increased by 38 points, and on transactions it rose by 31 points, while satisfaction with problem resolution improved 59 points from 2011.

"The cancellation of 34 items regarding service fees, announced in 2011 by the banking regulator, is likely to have influenced the improvement in satisfaction with fees among customers in China," said Steven Zou, senior manager of financial services at the company.

Satisfaction with large commercial banks increased seven points from 2011, while satisfaction with joint-stock banks declined by four points, primarily because of a decline in satisfaction with problem resolution and accommodations, it said.

Satisfaction with six overseas banks, including HSBC, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank, fell below average both among general and VIP clients. A total of 6,651 retail-banking customers in 16 cities were questioned in the survey, which examined the operations of 24 banks in China.

Shenzhen Development Bank ranked the highest in customer satisfaction, followed by China Everbright Bank and China Merchants Bank Co Ltd. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Co Ltd ranked the highest among customers with VIP accounts.

Among customers of the highest-performing banks, 44 percent said they "definitely will not" switch to a different lender. In addition, 51 percent of those customers said they will use other products from the same bank, and 49 percent said they "definitely will" recommend the bank to others.

The survey measures customer satisfaction regarding transactions, product offerings, account information, accommodations, fees, and problem resolution.

While bank customer satisfaction is on the rise in China, a significant gap in overall satisfaction levels still remains between China and the United States, said Rockwell Clancy, vice-president of global financial services at JD Power and Associates, parent company of JD Power Asia Pacific.

"While transactions are important satisfaction drivers across markets, fees have emerged as the most important in China. In-person and ATM transactions account for much of the satisfaction gap between Chinese and US customers."

Clancy said there are more issues in China with branch appearance and ATM availability, and branch satisfaction gaps continue to be driven by longer waiting times and poorer service.

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