A new survey conducted by South Africa's online guide to money Justmoney.co.za, reveals that more than 50% of respondents polled have never switched banks in their lifetime and that those who have, did so primarily because they were unhappy with the service levels of their bank.
Two thirds of users who claimed to have moved banks in their lifetime say they moved banks because of the low levels of service making it the number one reason for switching banks. Other popular reasons for switching were for increased convenience and lower banking charges.
Amongst other things, the survey asked more than 500 Justmoney users whether they had ever switched bank accounts and why they had either remained steadfast with their provider or moved onto ‘greener' pastures.
Andy Gilder, General Manager of justmoney.co.za, says that the array of responses made for some enlightening and occasionally surprising reading.
"One respondent told us he'd had a bank account opened in his name before he was born and that he'd never had anything but perfect service levels in more than 40 years of banking with the same bank. Others told us horror stories about banks repeatedly losing documents or accidentally closing accounts. We had one respondent telling us that she found a particular bank teller rude enough to make her change banks."
"We had a variety of reasons for why people change banks, but those who had never changed bank seemed apathetic in explaining why they'd never moved." Gilder says that while some of the fears of switching were potentially legitimate - some people fearing mix ups and costs associated with switching debit orders- the local landscape is steadily gearing up for easier bank switching.
"We now have banks offering up to R1000 cash for opening a new current account and others who will offer to switch your debit orders on your behalf and for free. While there are certainly valid reasons for not wanting to switch banks, a reason like "I couldn't be asked" is not one of them."
Commenting on service levels on behalf of independent online consumer affairs portal getclosure, Richard Wright said:
"These poll results are in line with our 2009 findings: almost half of banking complaints submitted on getclosure were about "poor service. These findings suggest that banks need to start "listening" to their customers and engaging with them rather than "marketing" to them. With the rise of social media platforms, you could argue that banks don't really have a choice in the matter as conversations about their brands are happening online, with or without their participation!"
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