[Kenya] Customers not ready for robotic agents but value mobile banking, survey
Bank customers in Kenya have not yet warmed up to the idea of robots and have their customer service needs. This is according to a new Banking Industry Customer Service Survey conducted by the Kenya Bankers Association during the last quarter of 2018.
The Survey, which was held in conjunction with the 2018 Customer Service Week at the Institute of Customer Service, indicates that despite the rising uptake or technology by banks to improve service delivery, 80 percent of customers still value the traditional model of customer service.
Based on feedback from 6,121 respondents, the research carried out by KBA through an online assessment attributes the results to Kenyans being accustomed to personal interaction when addressing sensitive matters such as their financials. "However, further research is needed to establish this trend towards low levels of awareness about the value proportion of chatbots, robots and other emerging data-driven Artificial Intelligence technologies," it says.
According to the Survey, customer contact centers are the most preferred complaint resolution touchpoints, dominating across all age categories. Email correspondence is the second most popular way through which customers want to engage with their bankers, with the highest preference among older respondents. The findings highlight the importance of bank complaint handling and mitigation strategies to unique demographic aspects.
Despite the adverse reaction to robots handling customer care, technology-driven service rated highly, with topping bank banking at 49 per cent, followed by online banking (16 per cent) and ATMs (15 per cent). "The Survey notes:" The Survey notes.
Regarding industry-wide performance, 89 percent or respondents said they had a better service experience in 2018, compared to 2017, with 66 percent attesting to banks' continued efforts to improve their customer service standards.
Notably, the Survey has shown that the Bank of Banking, Credit Bank, performing better than several Tier I and Tier II banks. Equity Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, and Credit Bank were ranked first and second, respectively, out of 47 members, which included retail and commercial banks and deposit microfinance banks.
"This indicates that excellence in customer service can be leveraged as a competitive advantage, therefore, banks want to continue to improve their customer experience as both a retention and growth strategy," said KBA Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Ms. Nuru Mugambi, adding that "Banks should invest more in financial technologies (FinTech), including mobile banking, to further enhance the user experience."
Through the Survey, customers also called upon KBA to develop harmonized industry-wide service standards. Other recommendations included continuous training or call center agents and the introduction of a service award to the top-performing banks.