Customer unhappiness continues to increase, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Retail Banking Study, with just 35 percent “highly committed to their retail bank” compared to 37 percent last year and 41 percent in 2007. Most troubling: the least satisfied of those surveyed “were the higher-valued customers,” according to Michael Beird, director of J.D. Power’s banking practice.

Those banks showing year-over-year improvement in customer satisfaction rated high in customer experience, branch convenience, and fees, Beird notes.

Banks where customer dissatisfaction is on the rise are those that are slow to respond to complaints, Beird says. “Problems are the largest source of attrition. Banks must try to stop problems before they happen, and resolve them quickly when they occur.” Other essential steps to improving satisfaction include new account follow-up, developing a “lobby management for welcoming customers,” and improving branch accessibility.

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