Banks are missing the opportunity to cement customer relationships through improved service, finds Pegasystems survey

Reading, UK - 10 February 2009 - A recent survey carried out by Pegasystems, a leading supplier of rules-based business process management software, has revealed that more than half of those questioned feel poorly served or informed by their banks. Yet 78% said it was important or essential that their bank knew and understood the customer as an individual with specific needs.

Asked to describe their relationship with their main bank, 17% said “my bank does not know who I am”, 10% said “my bank does not communicate with me” and 6% described their bank’s service quality as “poor”. A further 19% stressed their bank’s inability to communicate its benefits to them with the statement “all banks’ products and services are the same”.

And in the recent financial crisis with great uncertainty in the banking sector, consumers were asked if their bank had done anything to allay any concerns they may have. An emphatic 89% answered no.

“What we are clearly seeing is that banks are not yet using the technology available to them to personalise their message,” said Jeremy Payne, marketing director of Pegasystems. “They are relying on broad advertising and brand image, when they should be drilling down to talk to each customer about their specific issues. Given that 49% of those surveyed now bank online, it should be easy to provide customised responses.”

The survey clearly shows that banks need to focus more intensively on customer-facing issues, particularly at this time. With renewed talk of charging for current accounts and continuing concern about banking performance, it is vital that the banks communicate well with their customers, getting over the information about their unique strengths and targeted offerings. With one in five people believing that all banks offer the same products and services it is clear that this communication is failing.

“The functionality the banks need to do this does not demand a complete re-investment in IT systems,” Payne explains.  “By contrast, Pegasystems’ ‘Build for Change’ BPM technology enables banks to maximise their legacy investment by wrapping existing applications with new functionality.  Further, it provides the essential linkage at the business level rather than deep down in the IT code, so allowing additional business capability such as new products or services to be brought to market quickly.”

“As a result,” he continues, “such a rules–based BPM approach allows every interaction with the customer to be precisely personalised.  Banks can thus be responsive to a changing market and communicate that agility – along with the whole spectrum of information from individual accounts to investment performance – to the customer as and when they need it.  And, at a time when dissatisfied customers have increasingly shown a willingness to ‘vote with their feet’, this is absolutely essential to increase the level of retention, critical in the drive for greater profitability.”

An international study last year by leading research body Gartner revealed that improving business processes is the number one priority worldwide for the biggest companies.  “In light of this,” he concludes, “we urge the UK’s banks to seize the opportunity to streamline their systems, boost communications – and increase customer loyalty.”

About Pegasystems

Pegasystems (NASDAQ: PEGA) develops strategic applications for marketing, sales, service, and operations. Pega’s applications streamline critical business operations, connect enterprises to their customers seamlessly in real-time across channels, and adapt to meet rapidly changing requirements. Pega’s Global 3000 customers include many of the world’s most sophisticated and successful enterprises. Pega’s applications, available in the cloud or on-premises, are built on its unified Pega 7 platform, which uses visual tools to easily extend and change applications to meet clients’ strategic business needs. Pega’s clients report that Pega gives them the fastest time to value, extremely rapid deployment, efficient re-use, and global scale. For more information, please visit us at www.pega.com.

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