Study Reveals Millennials Shun Banks with Poor Online Service

Financial institutions are adopting new online features and capabilities to cater to digital natives, but understanding how they are impacting the online banking experience has yet to be analyzed. Humley, the creator of artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots for the enterprise, recently surveyed 1,000 Americans about their online banking experience and preferences to identify the latest consumer insights.

With fewer and fewer users going to banks in person, online banking customer service has never been more important. Of those surveyed, 40% of Millennials say they have switched banks due to poor service, with 77% of users saying they would switch to a bank offering better service. It's also clear that Millennials don't like long call waits, as 31% of those surveyed say they would switch to a bank that didn't have long call waits.

Most banking users surveyed accessed their bank via a smartphone application, with online web browser closely behind. When asked what the most frequent way users access their bank, over two thirds (68%) of Millennials typically use their smartphone app and one third (33%) use an online web browser. Given user responses, it's clear that developing a superior banking experience on multi-channel digital access to customer services is critical to a bank's success.

Once consumers develop consistent, positive online banking experiences, they are generally fairly loyal to their banks. In fact, most respondents reported that they are loyal (37%) or very loyal (34%) to their current bank. That said, one third of Millennials reported having waited more than 15 minutes to be connected with a representative from their bank. With almost one third (28%) of respondents stating that they end up having to call their bank at least once a month to take care of a small task, long wait times certainly compound problems and risk customer loyalty.

One way that banks are addressing long hold times and improving the online banking experience is by adopting chatbots, and contrary to what some may think, users are very much on board. Two thirds of those surveyed felt that an AI-powered chatbot would be useful in assisting them and 44% would rather communicate with a chatbot than a real person, assuming it could answer their questions as reliably as a live agent. While Millennials are five times less likely to visit their bank in person, interest in chatbots as a way to improve the online banking experience was seen across the generations that were surveyed. In fact, over two thirds of users between eighteen and seventy years of age would rather communicate with a chatbot after hours than wait to go in person the next day, and 35% of users would rather communicate with a chatbot during business hours than wait on hold. Furthermore, over a quarter (26%) of respondents would switch to a new bank offering 24/7 chatbot support. 

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