Customer loyalty hits rock bottom

The research, conducted by YouGov on behalf of KPMG, found that many consumers only retain their links with financial or retail organisations because of apathy or inertia. The main finding on the mortgage front was that only 16 per cent of borrowers said they expected to keep their mortgage with their existing lender if they move house.

Commenting on the survey, Simon Walker, partner in KPMG's Financial Services practice, said: "In tough market conditions, customer loyalty is vital. But this research has shown that financial and retail organisations could find it harder than ever to hang on to their customers. Customers will do whatever is easiest and most convenient, whether it be in financial services or shopping. Failing that, they will do nothing. Much has been invested by many organisations in customer loyalty products, but the best that can be said is that the jury is still out."

When asked which commercial organisation those surveyed had the most personal relationship with, current account providers (32 per cent) and supermarkets (29 per cent) came out far ahead of the rest (internet service providers ranked third at only 7 per cent). Mortgage providers - the source of most people’s largest financial commitment - were named by only 3 per cent of respondents.

As well as only 16 per cent of respondents saying they expected to keep their mortgage with their existing provider if they moved house, only 25 per cent of people ruled out remortgaging to a different provider. Just 6 per cent of respondents said feelings of loyalty or guilt might prevent them from remortgaging to a different provider. Yet customer apathy is particularly high when it comes to remortgaging. Fifty-four per cent of people described it as 'too much hassle for too little gain', while 34 per cent cited upfront costs as a major obstacle.

Walker concluded: "Separate KPMG research to be published in the next couple of weeks has found that mortgage providers estimate the cost of attracting a new customer to be between five and twelve times that of servicing an existing one. Financial and retail organisations need to keep on finding new ways of convincing customers to stay with them."