Don’t ask your bank customers if they’re happy. Watch what they do, instead.

Customer surveys and Net Promoter Scores both share the same weakness: What consumers say doesn’t necessarily match their actions. Here’s the latest thinking on how to know what your customers really think. Their behavior often speaks louder than words.

Measuring customer satisfaction — the degree to which your customers are happy with the products and services your company provides—is a persistent challenge that seems only to get harder.

Four recent perspectives summarized below put a fine point on it: The data we gather is increasingly unreliable or incomplete; and getting it right demands the kind of sophisticated digital infrastructure that most retail organizations, including banks, simply don’t have.

These challenges come as banks continue to seek the right channel mix amid cyclical and secular change—from the pandemic-driven expansion of digital-banking adoption to the economic and regulatory headwinds encountered by boundary-pushing fintechs to a recent uptick in branch building. How do you know what’s driving loyalty, as opposed to just clicks? Is “primacy,” or becoming the bank a customer relies on as a hub of all their financial needs, even possible? For an industry whose foundational offerings have long been seen as commoditized, answering these questions is critical.

Banks, like any consumer facing organization, have sought to find a magic metric for customer satisfaction, or some way to aggregate information to spot shortcomings and improve. Unfortunately, methods to capture such insight may require more sophistication.


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