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Poll: 66% of UAE residents say better banking standards needed

Poll: 66% of UAE residents say better banking standards needed

Only 34 per cent will recommend their bank to friends

Up to 66 per cent of residents in the United Arab Emirates are dissatisfied with their banks, a new poll by financial comparison site Souqalmal.com has found.

Only 34 per cent of the respondents said they would recommend their bank as a first choice to friends or colleagues.

The survey evaluated various aspects of the overall banking experience with parameters covering customer service, product offering and financial education.

When asked about areas of improvement, 36 per cent urged for better customer service, the report found.

However, overall bank satisfaction at 34 per cent was higher when compared to 27 per cent in 2014 and 15 per cent in 2013 in the UAE.

Souqalmal.com founder and chief executive officer Ambareen Musa said: “The need of the hour seems to be a seamless experience across all channels and customer touchpoints – branches, ATMs, call centers, online banking and mobile banking.

“It is therefore essential for banks to understand what is important to their customers and what drives their satisfaction and loyalty,” she said.

The most common service-related concerns include the need for better branch experience, clearer product information from call centre executives and faster complaint resolution.

More transparent and competitive rates on loans, more efficient online channels and better phone banking assistance were other areas where respondents wanted to see improvements.

“Customer expectations are outpacing the induction of improvements and innovations from technology. Banks need to realise that their success will not just be driven by adding more bells and whistles, but by balancing functionality with ease of use and then clearly communicating features and benefits to customers,” said Musa.

“Banks need to take a closer look at their CRM processes, because only a happy customer is likely to stick around and recommend their bank to others,” she added.

According to UAE Central Bank data, there are a total of over 960 bank branches and 5,100 ATMs in the country (as of December 2015).

However, over 12 per cent of survey respondents said they would prefer a wider branch network, while others urged for better ATM coverage across the country.

The poll also found that 25 per cent of respondents wanted improved custom product offerings from their bank.

“Banks are moving away from the ‘one-size-fits-all’ product strategy, with newer products and promotions being introduced, targeted at specific customer segments,” said Musa.

“For example, fitness app-linked accounts for the fitness enthusiast, credit cards for frequent travellers, shoppers or parents, loans for new residents, to name a few. These are all positive steps in the right direction.”

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