Nearly half of customers’ requests in relation to banks services begged for answers last year, holding the majority of Kenyans from opening accounts with some lenders.
The Kenya Banking Sentiment Index 2022 by Deloitte and DataEQ shows that 47.1 per cent of queries on social media platform, Twitter, such as signing up with the banks and pricing of loans went unanswered.
This comes amid increased use of social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook to engage with service providers and businesses.
“On average, only 52.9 per cent of service-related priority tweets received a public response. A possible reason for this poor responsiveness is the high ratio of non-priority to priority conversation on social media,” the report said.
“Priority conversation makes up under a quarter of all conversation relevant to banks. This means that priority service requests or queries – while high in importance – could potentially be getting lost among all the social media noise.”
This comes at a time when banks are shifting online in the fight for younger customers who are demanding more convenience and faster response times. This is likely to push more banks to hire digital customer relations officers who have more knowlege and abilities to resolve client issues than traditional social media managers.
Negative banks customers views and poor service experience underlies positive perception of M-Pesa by clients than traditional lenders even though users expressed disinterest with the mobile money platform’s loans, transaction fees and system downtime.
The report says conversations by banks customers include service, digital experience with banking apps, products, transactions and pricing and fees.
Clients raised their disinterest on the platforms over slow service at branches, long call wait times and poor responsiveness to queries with Stanbic, Equity Bank and Co-operative Bank receiving a number of complaints relating to this.
Loans have also topped online chats as consumers seek to find the bank with the best interest rates, while also highlighting those that charge high interest rates for mortgages.
Banks have in the past year adopted mobile banking offering services similar to those in physical branches with most lender recording over 90 per cent of total transactions on those digital channels.
Despite the shift to apps intended to improve the experience, customers reported poor digital experience driven largely by app downtime or USSD code service failing leaving many unable to complete critical transactions. As result, overall operational net sentiment across the industry was net negative at 50.3 per cent.
“Customer service was amongst the industry’s largest conversation drivers, with slow feedback and a lack of response to operational queries causing frustration,” it added.
“As banks work to enhance digital experiences, improved online social customer care is critical.”
The report shows service-related mentions accounted for 97.6 percent of conversations online across the industry centered on consumers providing feedback about their banking experience, requesting service on social media and seeking information on downtime, warranting banks attention.
Equity Bank led as the best bank in in responding to questions at 80 per cent of priority tweets despite having the highest volume of priority questions in the industry. This was followed by Co-op Bank and DTB Bank.
Absa performed the worst in this regard, despite having the lowest volume of priority conversation. The bank performed below the industry average of 53 percent in the year with a response rate of 14 per cent.
The report tracked 336,434 consumer posts in 2021.
A recent survey by the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) found that six in 10 bank customers prefer mobile banking compared to other forms of accessing bank services, underlining the growing popularity of the convenient and automated platforms.
The customer satisfaction survey by KBA found that mobile banking was the most preferred channel in 2021 at 58.4 percent, up from 52 percent the year before.
Mobile banking is primarily offered through USSD codes, using basic mobile phone technology to offer financial services to customers without the internet.