Customer Satisfaction with the Financial Sector Has Improved, Challenges Remain: SMU Study

SINGAPORE – Customer satisfaction here with the financial sector improved 1.2% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year to 74.8 points out of a possible 100.

The findings were part of a national customer satisfaction survey that the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at Singapore Management University (SMU) conducts quarterly and annually.

The Singapore Customer Satisfaction Index measures customer satisfaction across six key service industry sectors, including tourism, retail, ground transportation, and food and beverage.

A total of 4,700 local consumers were surveyed between October last year and January this year for the finance and insurance sectors.

Within the financial sector, the banking subsector scored 74.9 points, up 1.2% year on year, while the credit card subsector scored 73.2 points, an increase of 0.7%.

Electronic payment applications are a new inclusion and scored 77 points.

Among banks, UOB leads in customer satisfaction with 75.1 points.

DBS, HSBC and OCBC followed close behind, all scoring 74.9 points apiece.

The survey revealed that assurance and reliability are the most important drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Both of these attributes become more important in light of recent events such as the DBS internet banking outage last November and the phishing scams that targeted OCBC customers last December.

Observers say more scams, glitches or digital disruptions can be expected from time to time.

Last week’s payment issue that affected 375 OCBC customers is an example of how suddenly a problem can arise.

The incident highlighted how banks’ business partners have a role to play in ensuring the smooth functioning of payment ecosystems.

OCBC said its vendor that processes AXS payments on the bank’s credit cards was having a processing issue, resulting in duplicate transactions.

AXS told The Straits Times (ST) on Wednesday that all transactions on AXS are secure and have proper audit trails that allow the company to thoroughly investigate all customer queries.

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