Survey: Branches Persist as Preferred Channel for Big Conversations

While mobile and other digital channels continue to grow in importance for transactions, branches remain the preferred channel for customers to have important conversations with their banks, according to a Celent survey for Samsung released today. When consumers need to talk about a lengthy topic, 77 percent prefer visiting a branch and 17 percent calling a contact center, and just 6 percent prefer video or text-based chat.

For investment advice, 63 percent prefer a branch, while 52 percent would choose a branch to set up financial goals and 51 percent would opt for a branch to set up a new deposit or credit card account. To learn about mortgage, auto or student loan options, 45 percent would prefer a branch and 41 percent would prefer the online channel. Branches and contact centers were roughly tied in preference for error resolution. When reporting fraud or a stolen card, 53 percent of customers preferred calling a contact center.

These figures underscore the importance of investing in a positive branch or contact center experience, Celent said. A poor branch experience (with long waits or less knowledgeable staff) was listed by 47 percent as a reason for switching banks, the second-most-common reason after high fees, followed by closure of a local branch by 39 percent. Only 36 percent said a poor mobile or digital experience would drive a switch.