Banks take on average 31 hours and 56 minutes to respond to customer complaints.
This is according to a report released on Tuesday by the online business review website Hellopeter. The report focused on all South African banks.
Hellopeter found customers are willing to change and share their reviews if they receive a satisfactory response from banks.
Banks on average scored 1‚47 out of five‚ but ratings increased to 3‚88. Banks responded to 87.8% of reviews on Hellopeter.
“When a customer receives poor service from an institution that handles their finances‚ it becomes essential for such institutes to empathise with customers‚ who trust that the institution has their best interests at heart‚” the report said.
Hellopeter found consumers are 60% to 70% more likely to improve their review scores if banks responded within five hours. This dropped to 1% if complaints went unanswered in 24 hours.
“When no response is received‚ customers start to believe that their bank cannot be trusted to resolve problems.
“When banks send generic scripted responses‚ on the other hand‚ consumer responses are far more negative. If consumers are made to feel unimportant and not deserving of a genuine response‚ the result is a lack of trust‚ and ultimately‚ a lack of loyalty.”
The report found customers are tolerant if their complaints are resolved with transparency.
“A large number of customers are resistant to bank processes‚ with many feeling that current processes do not take unique customer problems into account.”
Common complaints included admin‚ debit orders‚ account closures‚ fraud and communication issues. Complaints often sprouted from call centres that were unable to resolve problems.
The Ask Afrika Orange Index ranked 135 South African companies across 33 industries in 2016/2017.
Ask Afrika MD Sarina de Beer said the 15‚000 respondents “overwhelmingly” indicated the most important thing for customers is being treated as an individual.
According to the index‚ the banking sector lags behind telecommunications‚ long-term insurances companies and internet service providers.
Customers were more frustrated with medical aid companies‚ short-term insurance companies‚ casinos‚ airlines and private hospitals.