The UAE’s banks may be doing well this year in terms of their finances, but they have a lot to do to improve customer satisfaction, according to a new study.
The latest UAE Banking Sentiment Index conducted by KPMG shows that operational issues, including lack of timely support from bank staff, long wait times and lack of feedback, continue to dominate consumer conversations regarding banks in the country.
Customers have also complained about inability to use banks’ mobile apps and issues related to the use of online banking services. And when it comes to banking products, payment tools like debit cards and credit cards, as well as loan solutions, had the highest negative sentiment.
Consumers complained about fees related to these products, while others expressed frustration over the slow delivery of issued cards and delayed activations. Customers also frequently raised complaints about debit cards that stopped working without prior notice.
The index is based on 172,588 retrieved public tweets from January 1 to December 31, 2021.
The study found that a third of all online conversations about banks required a response, however, on average 69 percent of priority tweets received a public response, leaving about a third (31 percent) of tweets unanswered.
“Despite a marginal improvement in net sentiment from the 2021 study, the UAE banking industry still has a way to go before it can meet consumer expectations,” KPMG said.
“UAE retail banks must do more to address customer feedback and grievances to boost overall satisfaction levels,” added Abbas Basrai, Partner and Head of Financial Services at KPMG Lower Gulf.
According to KPMG , the average time banks in the UAE took to respond to customers complaints/issues filed online was ten hours.
"The study also found that a third of all online conversations about banks required a response, however, on average 69% of priority tweets received a public response, leaving 31% of tweets unanswered. On a positive note, the average time it took the banks to respond was 10 hours, which was an improvement from the response time of 13 hours reported in the 2021 study," the KPMG survey noted.
Banks in the UAE have registered a positive performance so far. Top ten banks in the country had reported a 5 percent year-on-year increase in their total assets in 2021 and a significant 42 percent jump in net profits.
(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)