Credit unions really may stand to benefit from Bank Transfer Day and consumer dissatisfaction with big banks, a new Harris Poll shows.
The poll results, released Thursday, show that customer satisfaction and retention rates far exceed those of big banks, and that “big banks could learn from credit unions on delivering an exceptional customer experience,” the national polling company said.
The New York-based Harris Poll based its observations on the results of polling 2,463 adults online by Harris Interactive between Oct. 10 and 17. Bank Transfer Day is Saturday.
The poll found that 87% of credit union members said they were extremely or very likely to continue their business with their credit union, while 40% said the same for Bank of America, 46% for JP Morgan Chase and 54% for Wells Fargo/Wachovia.
"Customers express their loyalty through their actions, but the underlying motivation for these actions is rooted in the degree to which the bank connects with its customers on both a rational and emotional level; which in turn impacts their future intentions of continuing to use and recommend their bank to others,” said Carol Gstalder, executive vice president of Market and Customer Insights at Harris Interactive.
The poll found credit union members are three times as likely as customers of Bank of America to experience a trustworthy relationship (74% vs. 25%) and feel valued as a customer (72% vs. 24%), primary drivers of a strong emotional commitment to a relationship, the polling company said.
Similar results were found on social networks, said The Harris Poll, which observed 50,411 people who agreed to allow the company to listen in on private conversations through those channels. Harris calls them Lifestreamers.
The company found that while the numbers clicking “like” were not high in comparison with other pages with similar causes, the “chat percentage” – forwarding, discussing and chatting on Facebook about Bank Transfer Day – was nearly 50%, exceeding a “chat percentage” of 32% for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“Perhaps some banks are beginning to listen to customer dissatisfaction given this week's retreat of monthly debit card fees,” the polling company said. “This level of consumer engagement and resulting action may indicate a groundswell of support for customers to stop being so historically passive when it comes to switching their primary bank.”
The effect may become even more pronounced as credit unions, regional and smaller banks streamline methods of switching accounts into their institutions, Harris said.