With 61% of Canadians reporting they would switch banks for better rewards, banks need to sharpen their focus on improving the customer experience in order to retain existing customers and attract new ones, a recent EY survey reveals.

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“Uniform, one-size-fits-all banking experiences no longer meet customer expectations,” says Paul Battista, partner and Canadian financial services advisory aeader at EY. “While the majority of Canadians are satisfied with their primary bank, they’re expecting more personalization than ever before. To maintain — and improve — customer satisfaction while decreasing customer attrition, banks need to demonstrate they really understand their customers and their most important financial needs.”

According to EY’s Canadian Consumer Banking Survey 2013, although 71% of Canadians have been with the same bank for over a decade, approximately half would switch banks to receive more personalized experiences, such as financial rewards for bundling their services, and seamless cross-channel interactions.

“We found there’s a real gap between the experience Canadians have when dealing with their bank today, and the personalized experience they desire,” explains Battista. “Canadians told us their main bank either didn’t provide those experiences, or they were unsure because they had never directly experienced them.”

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Battista adds: “Over four million Canadians switched their primary bank in the last five years, and most of them reported the process was easy.  A clear message from our survey is that many customers would readily switch banks to obtain a more personalized experience. And within today’s highly contested and low attrition financial services marketplace, these customers represent a tremendous – and rare – growth opportunity for the financial institutions that can successfully deliver what these customers are looking for.”

The survey finds the majority of those who have switched banks in the past five years are between the ages of 18 and 44. Consumers in Atlantic Canada and Quebec report the highest loyalty with 68% and 62%, respectively, banking with the same institution for more than 15 years.

In addition to providing a more personalized customer experience, the survey results indicate that  to retain existing customers as well as attract potential switchers banks also need to focus on getting the basics right, while offering better, more seamless cross-channel delivery of products and services.

“Banks must continue to evolve their entire business models from a product and transaction focus to a customer needs focus,” says Battista. “Building the loyalty of their customers and enabling them to interact in a seamless way – when, where and how they want – will be the foundation for achieving enhanced market and customer growth.”

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