Survey: ATM Remains Key Channel for Retail Customers

ATMs have continued to remain a key channel for retail customers, a survey by KPMG Nigeria, a member of the global professional services firm has revealed. According to KPMG Nigeria’s “2014 Nigeria Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey,” 96 per cent of the respondents highlighted cash availability as one of their most important service measures.

The report obtained by THISDAY, noted that as banking services become ubiquitous and customers more sophisticated, convenience either via branches or ATMs will remain at the heart of customer interactions. “In the last year, the proportion of retail customers using the ATM increased from 84 per cent to 91 per cent, while branch usage at 96 per cent remained largely the same. “Six-in-ten customers visit the ATM weekly compared to three-in-ten for the branch. With the majority of everyday transactions still cash based, cash availability at the ATM was the most important service measure for retail customers,” it added.

However, the report pointed out that the frequencies of cash dispense errors and downtime of ATMs, were areas customers reported low satisfaction. Remarkably, only 10 of the 21 banks surveyed had more than 30 per cent of their customers reporting strong satisfaction with ATM uptime. While banks continue to make significant investments in ATMs, spurred on by a huge uptake by customers, the role of the ATM is becoming more central in the bank-customer relationship equation, leading to the conclusion that banks now need to reconsider their ATM strategies to achieve greater efficiency.

This year’s survey showed an improvement in the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) across the three major customer segments, which reflected banks’ continued investments towards enhancing service quality and creating better customer experiences. Notably, the report showed that the gap between the top and lowest ranked banks in the retail segment – at seven percentage points – has never been closer.

This was in comparison with 12 percentage points last year and nearly 19 percentage points in 2009. Furthermore, the study showed that all banks, excluding last year’s top three (Zenith, GTBank and Stanbic IBTC) recorded varying levels of increases in their overall CSI values with a consequent rise in the industry satisfaction index value from 71.9 per cent to 72.8 per cent. The survey noted: “Completeness and accuracy of information provided topped the list of important issues for nearly all corporate surveyed while the biggest area requiring improvement remains knowledge of the customer’s business

“This year, there was an improvement in the CSI across the three major customer segments which reflects banks’ continued investments towards enhancing service quality and creating better customer experiences,” it added. According to the report, banks that explore the frontiers of Personal Financial Management (PFM) may find potential they could tap, if they adopt the right app. “It is understandable that banks have not raced to launch PFM tools, since it is a completely foreign concept to the majority of consumers. However, many consumers perform basic PFM tasks on a regular basis, from tracking discretionary spending to paying bills.

“With the proliferation of digital technology, PFM now encompasses everything from categorising card transactions to receiving low-balance alerts to prevent overdraft. “But older generations, unaccustomed to receiving such PFM services from banks have kept to cheque books and spreadsheets to manage their finances – tools ill-suited to support the increasingly web-based financial lives of modern-day consumers,” it added.

It also stressed that the ongoing transformation in the financial services sector as well as the proliferation of web and mobile technology has made it the right time for banks to leverage their position in the financial services sector to combat emerging apps and establish a footprint on the PFM turf.