Consumers may be leaving their banks with more questions than answers, according to a new study. A third of respondents said that didn’t fully understand the terms and conditions of the credit card offerings at the bank after speaking with a representative, with half of prospective customers saying that their understanding fell somewhere in the low to average range.
Earlier this year, Maritz Research had 780 mystery shoppers contact six major banks both in person and on the phone to see how they were doing at educating their customers on everything from credit card offerings to overdraft fees.
The results are in
Just about a quarter of bank representatives talked in generalities about credit cards available, failing to mention key issues. While three out of four customers left the bank or hung up the phone without being given concrete details about importation aspects of credit cards and bank products, including late fees and minimum payments. More issues came up for customers when they were on the phone with representatives than when they visited the branch.
Some of the mystery shoppers left banks or ended phone conversations feeling confused and frustrated by the representatives, who they report seemed more interested in making a sale, or rushing them out the door, than giving them detailed information.
An opportunity for banks
There are opportunities for banks to make changes with how they communicate with their customers by training customer service representatives more effectively and adding more details to their written materials. Making changes can help them protect their customers, and avoid being called on the carpet for violating Consumer Protection Regulations which can result in hefty fines, according to the survey.
The Communications Compliance Study included 409 visits to branches and 371 phone calls. Maritz Research employed CrowNest to conduct the study which involved the use of mystery shop audits to gather information. During these visits, and while reviewing the banks written materials they looked at how well they complied with three regulations: regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act), regulation DD (fees and rates for account opening), and regulation E (electronic fund transfers).