Consumers in Saudi Arabia are happier with their banks

16 January 2024 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

Customer sentiment for leading banks in Saudi Arabia has improved in the past year, according to a new study from PwC, which analyzed customer attitudes towards seven leading KSA banks.

The report found that there was an 11.3% point increase in net sentiment when compared to the year previous. While positive financial results and engagement initiatives boosted reputational sentiment, challenges persist, particularly in slow service and lengthy processing times.

The report by PwC – a global accounting and consulting firm and the parent of strategic advisor Strategy& – notes that leveraging social media feedback could help banks improve on those points.

Consumers in Saudi Arabia are happier with their banks

Source: PwC's KSA Banking Sentiment Index

The retail banking sector in Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing due to higher customer expectations, digital advancements, and the emergence of digital banks and fintech companies. Despite the Saudi population actively giving feedback on social media, most banks have been found to not adequately leverage this trove of valuable information.

A major part of the shift in customer experience stems from banks simply just doing better in terms customer experience and corporate social responsibility initiatives. The banking industry in the kingdom is growing and the leading institutions are improving their standards when it comes to top-quality offerings.

Customer sentiment by topic

While customer service was mentioned the most of all categories, the domain has a low net sentiment score of -82.1%., making it a major area for improvement. The main cause of dissatisfaction is the prolonged resolution times for issues and requests.

Consumers in Saudi Arabia are happier with their banks

Source: PwC's KSA Banking Sentiment Index

Products, the second-most mentioned, had a net sentiment of -37.4%, mainly driven by negative feedback on debit cards and similar products, including transactional issues, unauthorized charges, and card-issuing delays. Reputation, the third most-mentioned category, stood out positively in terms of charity and community programs.

Digital experience has a lot of negative perception, with a net sentiment of -81.1%. That seems mostly due to system outages, while physical facilities received mixed reviews. Pricing and fees, with the smallest conversation volume, expressed dissatisfaction with fees, interest rates, misleading product descriptions, and allegations of fraudulent activity.

Saudi Arabia’s banking sector has grown in recent years as the country makes moves away from the its dependency on the oil and gas sector by diversifying into new areas, including finance. The country’s banking sector is among the largest in the GCC, and one of the foremost providers of Islamic banking services worldwide.