Helping Customers Manage Financial Stress Increases Customer Satisfaction

Five years into the financial crisis, consumers continue to feel high levels of stress about their personal financial situation.  In a survey conducted in April of over 5,000 bank and credit union customers, 18 percent said they feel a high level of stress about their financial situation.  Forty-three percent have a moderate level of stress, 30 percent a low level of stress and only 8 said they feel no financial stress.

Stress by Generation

Financial stress is fairly uniform across generations, with the exception of Pre-Boomers (born before 1946).  Twenty percent of Gen Y (born after 1980) and Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) are experiencing high financial stress, 19 percent of Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and 11 percent of Pre-Boomers.


The Impact of Financial Stress on Customer Satisfaction

The results of this survey show a strong correlation between financial stress and customer satisfaction.  Overall the industry, including banks and credit unions, has a net satisfaction score of 78%.  The net satisfaction score is the percent of satisfied customers minus the percent of dissatisfied customers.  Customers with high stress have a net satisfaction score of only 70 percent, those with moderate stress, 77 percent, low stress, 84 percent and customers with no stress 68 percent.


Helping Customers Manage Financial Stress

In this economy it is inevitable that many customers will feel financial stress, but helping customers manage that stress is not only good for customers but also increases customer satisfaction.  Customers who say their bank is very effective at helping them manage financial stress have a net satisfaction score of 95 percent, with 0.4 percent of customers saying they are dissatisfied with the overall service they receive. Customers who believe their bank is not at all effective at helping them manage financial stress have a net satisfaction score of 48 percent and those who feel their bank adds to their stress have a score of only 20 percent.


 With sixty-one percent of customers feeling moderate or high levels of financial stress, banks have the opportunity to differentiate themselves by helping their customers better manage their stress.  In some cases this might be done by discussing product options or making sure customers understand the products and services they have and are in the right product.  Offering financial education, both on-line and in-person will also help customers realize that the banks are there to help them.  Banks which do this will be rewarded with increased satisfaction and loyalty.