Australia's banks are still generally failing their business banking customers, according to the 'Business Banking Sentiment Index' from East & Partners, which shows decreasing customer satisfaction and sentiment scores.
The index monitors Australian businesses with an annual turnover of A$1 million - A$100 million on a monthly basis, and has found that these businesses are generally unhappy with the service they are receiving from banks, awarding the sector as a whole a Sentiment Score of only 44.3 out of 100.
The Sentiment Score is an aggregated score of four different measures of customer sentiment: empathy, satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. St George Bank received the highest Sentiment Score (54.5) from business customers, followed by Bank of Queensland with (49.5), and HSBC (47.9).
Among the country's "big four" banks, National Australia Bank received the highest Sentiment Score (45.5), followed by ANZ (44.6), Commonwealth Bank (43.0), and Westpac (41.2).
The index, which also segments the overall business banking market into Micro Businesses (A$1-5 million), SMEs (A$5-20 million) and Lower Commercial companies (A$20-100 million), also revealed that Micro Businesses are the least happy, awarding the banking sector an overall Sentiment Score of only 35.9%. SMEs gave business banks a score of 40.3, whilst Commercial companies were more positive toward their banks, awarding a score of 58.9.
Businesses in Queensland felt most positive toward banks (50.2), followed by Victoria (46.7), while NSW businesses were much less positive (39.1).
According to East & Partners' senior consultant Paul Bartholomew, "It's clear from the findings that, despite the focus on business customers over the past 12 to 18 months, these customers are far from happy with their banks. Notwithstanding the recruitment and deployment of hundreds of business bankers and the purported focus on relationship banking small business customers, the connection between bank and customer appears quite tenuous, judging by these measures."
Bartholomew warned that, while there is plenty of effort currently going into acquiring new business banking customers, there is much less effort going into keeping existing customers happy.