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UAE customers prefer digital-first approach to banking services, reveals Avaya survey

  • Four in ten customers would change bank and share the experience with their friends if they receive poor customer service
  • UAE customers prefer digital self-service channels to access banking services, escalating to advisor-assisted services only for more complex tasks
  • Virtual Financial Advisors appreciated by UAE customers for faster query resolutions

Dubai, UAE – 2017 – Consumers in the UAE increasingly want to be able to resolve their basic banking issues without having to speak to a bank adviser by phone, according to a new survey from Avaya. The findings reveal that customers’ most preferred channel for accessing banking services is via a mobile app, contacting bank advisers only for more consultative engagements like applying for loans or addressing fraudulent activity.

The Customer Experience in Banking Survey, conducted with YouGov, queried more than 5,000 banking customers in four countries—the UAE, UK, Australia and India. The latter is the only country with a stronger preference for mobile banking than the UAE, preferred by 26% of respondents compared to the UAE’s 24%. Despite their enthusiasm for mobile banking, consumers in the UAE are actually the least keen to use online services via their bank’s website, with a stronger preference for mobile apps.

Getting the customer experience right is vital to UAE banks as 41% of respondents say that they would change their bank as a result of bad customer service – the highest of the four countries surveyed. Around the same percentage (38%) would also share their bad experience with their friends and acquaintances, with nearly half indicating that they would lodge a formal complaint with their bank.

Regardless of how they choose to contact their bank, the majority of UAE customers want the same level of experience and service across all channels. Following that, other top asks from UAE banking customers include the ability to switch between contact center channels without having to repeat themselves, that any person who answers their phone call is fully competent to handle their request, and that bank advisors know not only who they are, but what their outstanding problems are.

While more robust digital channels are one way for banks to improve the customer experience, a fifth of those in the UAE would still prefer to visit their bank’s branch and speak with a relationship officer for services. Moreover, the UAE still has the highest percentage of banking customers who would prefer to chat with a relationship officer over the phone, with 14% choosing this channel compared to just 11% in India and 7% in both Australia and the UK. It is possible this is because more than half (56%) of UAE bank customers want their problems to be resolved on the first point of contact.

Virtual Financial Advisors (VFAs) – representatives from the bank who engage customers through virtual means and service them remotely with online tools – seem to be an ideal solution based on the preferences of UAE respondents. According to the survey, the most valued benefit of having a VFA is being able to get faster resolutions of their banking inquiries regardless of the contact center channel they use.

Furthermore, customers in the UAE by and large prefer not to be contacted by their bank for basic services. Problematic or potentially fraudulent transactions are the number one reason why UAE customers would want their banks to contact them. Only 40% of UAE customers would want to be notified if their credit card or banking service is up for renewal, with the same number interested in personal offers and only a third wanting to know about new launches or services.

“For banks in the UAE today, delivering a superior customer experience requires coordination across all customer touchpoints—whether online or offline,” says Yaser Alzubaidi, Engagement Solutions Sales Leader for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) at Avaya. “It really comes down to personal autonomy and being able to choose the way you interact with your bank depending on the situation at hand. We do see that mobile platforms are increasingly popular channels through which to engage banks as technologies like voice and video move digital. Yet while we may reach customer support through a mobile app, I think customers will always want to be able to speak to a live person. That is where new technologies can really make a difference in helping customers do what they want to do as fast and effectively as possible.”

To learn more about how Avaya is digitally transforming financial services, check out this short video or browse this resource guide.

Editor Note

The Avaya Banking Survey 2017 was conducted from June 14-21 amongst 5,004 panelists in the UAE, Australia, the UK, and India. Objectives of the survey were to gauge current banking satisfaction levels; most often used and preferred banking channels; issues encountered when contacting banking call centers and customers’ preferences when doing so; preference of being contacted by banks, and the perceived benefits of VFAs.

About Avaya

Avaya enables the mission critical, real-time communication applications of the world’s most important operations. As the global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications — offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid. Today’s digital world requires communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya. For more information, please visit

Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "should" or "will" or other similar terminology. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. These and other important factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. For a list and description of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Avaya's filings with the SEC that are available at Avaya disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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