Bain's annual Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking report surveyed 150,100 consumers in 14 countries. Specific country findings are detailed in these individual snapshots. Globally, the survey reveals a surge in mobile banking and tepid loyalty scores by affluent customers in many markets, with implications for how banks should redesign their channel strategies.
We surveyed 9,500 customers of 16 banks, and we have included the 11 banks that had a sufficient sample size. Here are the highlights.
Loyalty leaders. Among the top banks for loyalty, three are direct banks—ING, Comdirect and DKB—and one, Sparda, is a cooperative bank that's much like a credit union (see Figure 5.1). We would point to two features of DKB's strategy. One is an aggressive stance on price in a market that's highly price sensitive. The second is the warm reception for the early introduction of its core product, a no-fee current account that includes a credit card with free access to any ATM anywhere. That feature has attracted students and other young customers who the bank hopes to sign up for other products as they age.
Channel usage and its effect on customer referrals. German consumers are avid users of online banking channels (see Figure 5.2). That's true even though the online offerings of most German banks remain fairly basic compared with industry leaders in, for instance, Australia and South Korea. Indeed, online tools have a substantial inﬂuence on customers' likelihood of recommending a bank (see Figure 5.3). When it comes to mobile applications, however, many German banks lag their counterparts in some other countries. Smartphone adoption did not gain steam until 2010, and most of the banks have been slow to invest in mobile applications because they were focused on mergers and surviving the financial crisis. As a result, the mobile channel has not yet provoked delight among customers— which of course opens an opportunity for banks that can quickly develop advanced, reliable mobile offerings.
German customers also prize the quality of advice from their banker. A chat or videoconference with the bank may be rare, but it's the leading inﬂuencer on loyalty—for good or ill.
A note about loyalty scores worldwide
As banks review their Net Promoter scores, those with high scores may be tempted to compare across markets and declare themselves "best national bank" or "best credit union" globally. But that would be misleading. Click here to learn more.