Washington Mutual and Wachovia had more than their obituaries in common this year. They also ranked as two of the poorer performers in customer engagement, as measured in customer polls conducted by enterprise feedback systems provider Allegiance. The polls show that both banks suffered sharp declines as 2008 wore on, with Washington Mutual dropping from 31 percent to 21 percent of what the vendor describes as “engaged” customers, or those that meet Allegiance’s prescribed measurements of loyalty based on multi-channel feedback on its Engage platform. Wachovia went from 36 percent at the beginning of the year to 26 percent, as each bank fell below the average engagement level of 36 percent on Allegiance “Pulse of America-Retail Banking” benchmark ratings. [The rankings are accrued through independent polling, and not a sampling of Allegiance clients, according to the company]. “With trouble in the banking sector, we expected to see engagement scores drop for national banks. Our survey indicates that the drop was worsened due to the actions of two particular companies,” said Kyle LaMalfa, Allegiance best practices manager and loyalty expert, in a statement. “Falling engagement scores at these companies were strongly correlated with perceived reductions in service reliability and customer care. In addition, we noticed that customers at these banks were feeling more stress and worry about the future.”
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