More than half of consumers (63 percent) are influenced by rewards on offer when choosing a new bank and credit card provider, according to a study by Collinson Latitude.
This ranks rewards on offer above customer reviews (58 percent) and almost on par with brand reputation (69 percent) in terms of their influence in consumers' decision making process.
However, the report 'Taking Account: The consumer perspective on loyalty programmes in financial services', which polled 4,000 global consumers, revealed that the financial service industry is failing to meet customer expectations, with only one in 10 saying that their rewards programme offers an "excellent service".
While this clearly shows the impact of rewards in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, bank and credit card reward programmes were rated poorly by members.
In fact, when asked to compare service levels, they ranked below retail, travel, and food and drink, in terms of customer satisfaction. The average satisfaction score among those in a reward programme was rated four out of five, compared to only three out of five in the finance sector.
With regards to the areas in which financial rewards programmes were falling short, three stood out.
- Choice of rewards - A significant 82 percent of respondents said that they would be better if they offered more choice and would let them choose the categories of reward they wanted (79 percent).
- Access to rewards - About 72 percent of them would like better access to rewards online and the ability to redeem their rewards more easily (78 percent).
- Service levels - Only one-third of the respondents (31 percent) agreed that they were receiving a "great service" from their programme.
"What programme managers and marketing professionals in the FS sector need to realise is that consumer expectations have changed; they expect to be rewarded for their custom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on the device of their choice," said James Berry, e-Commerce Director at Collinson Latitude.
"To genuinely improve customer satisfaction and close the satisfaction gap between other industries, banks and credit providers need to start investing in more personalised reward programmes that offer consumers greater choice and accessibility," he added.
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