Changing technology continuously influences consumer behavior and interests. As consumer behavior changes, so do their wants and needs.
To keep up with their preferences, we recently completed our 2nd year of consumer research.
The free report, Modern Banking Research, is based on responses from 2,000 respondents and provides a global view of what today's consumers want from their financial institutions.
The democratization of banking
In comparison to previous research, one overarching concept stood out to us – a concept we’re calling "the democratization of banking."
We define this as the freedom for consumers to decide how they will do their banking. It’s 2019 and banking has evolved into a more interactive omnichannel experience. Choosing a bank is no longer limited to the options in your local town square, nor are banking activities limited by the stereotypical “banker’s hours.”
The reality is that customers can try out any number of credit unions or virtual banks without boundary. Consumers can even download apps that instantly analyze their investment portfolios, enable check deposits with a signature and photo of the check, and make instant cashless commerce transactions.
Customers are now increasingly likely to select an organization that provides interactive banking services in a way customers want to use them.
Recommendation #1: Service consistency
The research shows that consumers expect (but are not receiving) a consistently high level of service, regardless of how they bank.
In fact, in the US, 21% of respondents now only shop for these products online, a 6% increase from 2017.
Recommendation #2: In-branch experience
Data shows that although branch traffic has significantly decreased due to online options, branches are an increasingly valuable asset for upsell opportunities and still serve as a place to establish customer trust.
In the US, 68% of people would visit branches more often if they were afforded more access to trained staff with better attitudes and a higher knowledge base.
Recommendation #3: Events
One of the largest opportunities identified for the financial industry, specifically banks, was hosting events to connect with customers and build a community around a branch.
Across the US and UK, only 11% of respondents had ever been invited to a bank’s event, yet 63% would consider attending if invited. What an opportunity!
Recommendation #4: Education
Established banks are losing market share to fintech competitors who offer robust and innovative banking services. Because there's such an abundant amount of choice available to consumers, this presents an opportunity for established banks to better educate their customers on their best course for financial planning.
Providing classes and advising through all channels can further establish trust between institutions and their customers, which is a key element to maintaining a lengthy and mutually beneficial relationship.
Whether you’ve already been investing heavily in tech/customer experience or are just ramping up, there is demonstrable value in focusing on customer experience.
Perhaps innovating your online customer experience means improving feature functionality and optimizing your user interface.
Innovation in-branch may mean spending additional time training staff and reducing administrative tasks. Ultimately, the focus should be to spend more time creating seamless experiences with customers.