The global financial services landscape, especially retail banking, has changed dramatically over the past three years in which we’ve conducted our research on banking consumers.
The rise of mobile and online banking have certainly altered the way consumers bank, allowing people to satisfy their financial needs at times most convenient for them. Since simple transactions can now be made via smartphones, tablets, and computers, many physical branches have shuttered.
But there’s good news for both consumers and banks.
Our third annual Modern Consumer Banking Report – compiled from banking preferences of 2,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers – shows that consumers want omnichannel experiences from their banks. They want to visit branches to have deeper conversations, and they want to access both online and offline channels to power their entire banking journey.
Here’s how consumers view their banks, and how they want them to improve:
Consumers demand exemplary service
Unfortunately, banks are known for long wait times, and customers are unhappy with the amount of time spent during their branch visits. In fact, 44% of customers said waiting times were the primary reason for their unhappy visits.
To mitigate that challenge, banks can either add more staff or change the times that customers visit their branches, at least according to nearly 70% of consumers. Adding staff can certainly be expensive, but banks must ensure there’s enough staff to match customer demand. Allowing customers to schedule appointments is a cost-effective way to ensure positive branch experiences.
Consumers crave personalized appointments
At the backbone of creating immersive in-branch experiences is appointment scheduling – the ability for customers to book appointments online to meet with in-branch staff and have in-depth conversations with them. We see that 61% of respondents, on average, are interested in scheduling appointments online to meet with in-branch staff. When customers and staff meet in-person, they can not only promptly resolve any issues, but develop stronger relationships.
Consumers visit branches for in-person conversations
Our research found that 35% of consumers, up from 25% of consumers in 2016, on average, visit banks to talk face-to-face. It’s much easier to ask bank representatives questions about complex mortgage or loan applications in-person. And, not to mention, customers can receive immediate responses to their questions because they don’t have to wait for electronic replies if completing applications online.
As a result, branches are becoming increasingly important for high-value transactions, where consumers want to speak directly with staff. The stakes are high – if customers receive poor experiences, they’ll move to the competition.
Consumers want to attend special events
Interestingly, 63% of consumers have raised their hands to express interest in attending in-branch events, which can include investment workshops, mortgage courses, or financial planning seminars. Consumers want opportunities to learn more about new or existing products and services, and events are perfect vehicles to showcase such items and staff expertise.
As the retail banking industry continues to evolve over the next few years, how will customers’ perspectives of banks continue to change? While we might not know yet, we do know that they want flawless omnichannel experiences and service.
Download the full report for all the insights, and actionable tips!👇