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Tue 31 Mar 2015 02:07 PM

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Most UAE firms say banking services are not good enough

Local banks in particular are failing to meet expectations of corporate customers, according to new survey

Most UAE firms say banking services are not good enough

Banks in the UAE are not meeting customer expectations and the customer-bank relationship in the country is deteriorating, according to new research.

TNS, the world’s largest custom market research organisation, said its study looked closely at the services offered by corporate banks with the outcome suggesting that "banks are just not delighting their corporate customers".

It said this is impacting the customer-bank relationship, as well as provoking a resistance to offering customer referrals.

The research showed that most customers were unwilling to recommend a bank even after rating it as good in the study. It did not name any of the banks falling short of expectations.

“It seems that customers of corporate banking services believe their bank could up-the-ante on service and this sentiment negatively affects the willingness to recommend banks to others. Indeed, even after rating a bank’s performance as good, more than 70 percent of respondents are not willing to offer a recommendation,” said Stephen Hillebrand, CEO, TNS Middle East.

The study highlighted the need for banks to improve across customer experience, long-term relationship management, faster responsiveness, as well as turnaround time.

It also suggested that local banks have "some catching up to do" when compared to multi-national players.

“Another interesting observation is that the performance of financing products and treasury services specifically is considered ‘below average’,” said Hillebrand.

He said an opportunity exists for local banks to better use the industry strategy dubbed ‘know your customer’, and noted a high interest in Islamic banking, specifically for credit facilities, such as bilateral and syndicated loans, as well as project financing.

The TNS Annual Corporate Banking Excellence Study was created by TNS Middle East following face-to-face conversations with senior finance directors across more than 425 organisations in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah.

Those surveyed included SMEs with annual turnover of AED30-100 million, medium-sized enterprises with annual turnover AED100-500 million, and large corporates with minimum annual turnover of AED500 million.

Hillebrand added: “This first-of-its-kind corporate banking study was generated to ensure that the UAE banking sector has a neutral industry standard that focuses on the voice of customer.

“Time is money and a bank’s ability to respond, provide solutions and be proactive will improve reputation. The call from customers seems to be to marry delivery with a basket of services customised to each corporate segment needs and wants. This will result in a win-win.”

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savio 5 years ago

Not good enough? Inexistent should be the correct sentence. Banking service in UAE is well below average compare to other big cities like London, HK, NY, Singapore. And I believe its by far the sector who is the worse in the entire UAE. We have number one airline, number one Port, number one hospitality business and... one of the last middle age with 0 customer service banking system. I own a small firm making profit for years with a turnover of 30m AED I still don't have 0 facilities 0 overdraft, the FX rate used are simply a robbery, I must have changes account manager 5 times already! Banks? ADCB/HSBC/BARCLAYS/ENBD!!! They make easy money with deposit and don't have a clue how to serve clients. I feel they often forget ( not to say always) that we are the clients and not the opposite.

Mosa 5 years ago

I agree with the article. Even I have heard from so many people having business accounts with leading banks that the services are horrible, from responses to procedures to facilities to charges - everything is below average and worse.

Having locally owned banks in a wide variety is great, but when you restrict international banks from penetrating the local market - you must raise your standards and quality to match the international banks.

Arpit 5 years ago

UAE banks need to become more consumer centric rather than marketing/ product centric. There is too much emphasis on sales and often the delivery falls short. A basic touch point like a call centre is so difficult to reach on most ocassions. There should be norms on service standards and banking staff needs to be trained on soft skills.

Ahmed Al Hosny 5 years ago

I completely agree with the ‘below average’ performance of the local banks – especially the financing & treasury products.. Being in the finance department of a large corporation, this article recapitulates the essence & it should push the banks to focus more on the end users.. Firstly the sales representatives/ relationship managers are not very well equipped with the products/ services & the specific features – need to have a proper training mechanism for them.. Secondly there are too many procedures & it takes a lot of time to finally get the things done – need to improve on the lead time.. Last but not the least, there should be some flexibility in the terms & conditions – the banks should not be hell-bent & should try & understand the other side as well

Neal 5 years ago

The financial services form the backbone of the economy and the Government needs to intervene / regulate to drive the quality of services if the voice of the industry indicates it is deficient.

jim cumming 5 years ago

very true Savio, the service is terrible. the most mundane of tasks seems to take a herculean effort to get completed, even then there is no guarentee that it has been completed correctly, new account opening, credit card application, direct debit etc all can take days/weeks when it normally should take minutes.