Marketing, customer satisfaction and loyalty
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Belfius : 95,25% customer satisfaction. Can you believe it?

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I visited a Belfius branch last week and was stunned to see their latest marketing campaign and their claim about their high customer satisfaction: 95,25% customer satisfaction ! Can you imagine ? This is just an amazing score. So amazing that it can hardly be trusted as I already wrote many years ago on this blog.
I digged into this matter, looked for facts on the satisfaction in the banking industry and explain below why the customer satisfaction claims of Belfius are more than doubtful.
Just jump to the conclusion if you are in a hurry and find out what may be behind Belfius satisfaction scores.

1) There is no reference to the methodology

Besides the claims made on its corporate website, Belfius has launched a page dedicated to its satisfaction scores : https://www.rapport-de-satisfaction.be/
Unfortunately there is no reference to any methodology on the website (like a survey instrument or a NPS score). Nothing described that could reassure you that customer satisfaction is measured in an unbiased and reliable way.

2) The score is very different from other bank satisfaction indexes

The most famous Bank satisfaction index is probably the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index). The latest results were published in November 2016 (see table below) and show an average of 80% customer satisfaction for american banks.
The ACSI has been measured since 1994 (23 years !) with a scientific methodology nationwide and has been subject to numerous academic publications. It’s a perfectly robust survey instrument, one that can be trusted.

In 2016, among national banks, it’s Citybank, with a satisfaction score of 82, which ranked first (up 12 points from 2015)

In conclusion you can wonder how Belfius manages to achieve more than 95% customer satisfaction while US national banks hardly achieve more than 80%. It’s a big difference, too big to be true actually.

3) European benchmarks feature other customer satisfaction scores

This is the key argument. Pan-european market research firms like IPSOS do survey banks customers in many countries to monitor satisfaction levels. In the IPSOS satisfaction survey (carried out in France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain) the results prove to be way different from the claims made by Belfius.
The banking industry is one of the worst rated in terms of customer satisfaction (68%). Obviously Belfius wasn’t part of tthis Benchmark since its activities aren’t located in the 5 countries studied.

4) Even in Belgium satisfaction scores are much lower

In Belgium too satisfaction surveys are done to compare banks. One of them is organized by CompareBanque.be / BankShopper.be annually. In 2016 Belfius obtained the worst score.

Conclusion

To be honest I don’t thing the Belfius satisfaction scores are trustful and reliable. No methodology is described on their website, the scores obtained differ largely from all other measures taken either in the US in the last 23 years or in Europe. Last but not least, annual benchmarks of satisfaction carried out in Belgium have ranked Belfius on the last position.
In short, these customer satisfaction claims look to be as being a mere marketing campaign without real solid backing.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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2 Comments

  1. I’m really thinking about leaving them and finding a bank that’s investing into the future!

  2. You may want to try an ethic bank or one that doesn’t follow a strategy of high-dividends to its shareholders. High dividends go usually together with jobs cuttings. See the examples of bpost I gave earlier on this blog

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