Nearly two thirds of consumers (63%) are influenced by rewards on offer when choosing a new bank and credit card, according to research from Collinson Latitude which ranks loyalty rewards above customer reviews (58%) and almost level with brand reputation (69%) in terms of their influence over consumers' decision-making process. This article is copyright 2015 The Best Customer Guide.

But the report, entitled 'Taking Account: The consumer perspective on loyalty programmes in financial services', questioned 4,000 consumers globally and found that the financial service (FS) industry is still failing to meet customer expectations with only 1 in 10 consumers saying financial services rewards programmes offer an excellent service.

While this clearly shows the impact of rewards in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones, bank and credit card reward programmes were rated poorly by members. In fact, when asked to compare service levels, they ranked below retail, travel and food & drink in terms of consumer satisfaction; the average satisfaction score among those in a retail reward programme was 4/5, compared to only 3/5 in the finance sector.

Regarding the areas in which financial rewards programmes were falling short, three stood out:

  1. Choice of rewards
    More than eight out of ten respondents (82%) said they would be better if they offered more choice and would let them choose the categories of reward they wanted (79%);
    nbsp;
  2. Access to rewards
    Around three quarters said they (72%) would like better access to rewards online and the ability to redeem their rewards more easily (78%);
    nbsp;
  3. Service levels
    Less than a third of respondents (31%) agreed they were receiving a 'great service' from their programme.

"In the midst of a world-wide economic crisis, the financial services industry has had the digital revolution to contend with - one that has thrown up new ways of doing things and ultimately changing the way consumers interact with them," explained James Berry, e-Commerce Director for Collinson Latitude. "What programme managers and marketing professionals in the FS sector must understand is that consumer expectations have changed; they expect to be rewarded for their custom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and through the device of their choice. To genuinely improve customer satisfaction - and close the satisfaction gap between other industries - banks and credit providers need to start investing in more personalised reward programmes that offer consumers greater choice and accessibility."