Bank customers in the UAE prefer digital self-service channels to access banking services, escalating to adviser-assisted services only for more complex tasks according to The Customer Experience in Banking Survey by Avaya.

Virtual Financial Advisors (VFAs) — representatives from the bank who engage customers through virtual means and service them remotely with online tools — seem to be an ideal solution based on the preferences of UAE respondents.

According to the survey, the most valued benefit of having a VFA is being able to get faster resolutions of their banking inquiries regardless of the contact centre channel they use.

The survey results showed that customers in the UAE by and large prefer not to be contacted by their bank for basic services. Problematic or potentially fraudulent transactions are the number one reason why UAE customers would want their banks to contact them. Only 40 per cent of UAE customers would want to be notified if their credit card or banking service is up for renewal, with the same number interested in personal offers and only a third wanting to know about new launches or services.

“It really comes down to personal autonomy and being able to choose the way you interact with your bank depending on the situation at hand. We do see that mobile platforms are increasingly popular channels through which to engage banks as technologies like voice and video move digital. Yet while we may reach customer support through a mobile app, I think customers will always want to be able to speak to a live person. That is where new technologies can really make a difference in helping customers do what they want to do as fast and effectively as possible,” said Yaser Al Zubaidi, Engagement Solutions Sales Leader for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at Avaya.

The Avaya Banking Survey 2017 was conducted from June 14-21 among 5,004 panellists in the UAE, Australia, the UK, and India. Objectives of the survey were to gauge current banking satisfaction levels; most often used and preferred banking channels; issues encountered when contacting banking call centers and customers’ preferences when doing so; preference of being contacted by banks, and the perceived benefits of VFAs.