Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Consumers in the UAE increasingly want to be able to resolve their basic banking issues without having to speak to a bank adviser by phone, according to a new survey from Avaya, a global communications company.

The findings reveal that customers’ most preferred channel for accessing banking services is via a mobile app, contacting bank advisers only for more consultative engagements like applying for loans or addressing fraudulent activity.

The Customer Experience in Banking Survey queried more than 5,000 banking customers in four countries — the UAE, UK, Australia and India.

The latter is the only country with a stronger preference for mobile banking than the UAE, preferred by 26 per cent of respondents compared to the UAE’s 24 per cent.

Despite their enthusiasm for mobile banking, consumers in the UAE are actually the least keen to use online services via their bank’s website, with a stronger preference for mobile apps.

Getting the customer experience right is vital to UAE banks as 41 per cent of respondents say that they would change their bank as a result of bad customer service – the highest of the four countries surveyed.

Around the same percentage (38 per cent) would also share their bad experience with their friends and acquaintances, with nearly half indicating that they would lodge a formal complaint with their bank.

Regardless of how they choose to contact their bank, the majority of UAE customers want the same level of experience and service across all channels.

Great expectations

Following that, other top demands from UAE banking customers include the ability to switch between contact center channels without having to repeat themselves.

They also expect any person who answers their phone call is fully competent to handle their request, and that bank advisors know not only who they are, but what their outstanding problems are.

“For banks in the UAE today, delivering a superior customer experience requires coordination across all customer touchpoints — whether online or offline,” said Yaser Alzubaidi, Engagement Solutions Sales Leader for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at Avaya.

While more robust digital channels are one way for banks to improve the customer experience, a fifth of those in the UAE would still prefer to visit their bank’s branch and speak with a relationship officer for services.

Moreover, the UAE still has the highest percentage of banking customers who would prefer to chat with a relationship officer over the phone, with 14 per cent choosing this channel compared to just 11 per cent in India and 7 per cent in both Australia and the UK.

It is possible this is because more than half (56 per cent) of UAE bank customers want their problems to be resolved on the first point of contact.