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Accenture report shows strong trust in banks

May 14
Tags: Accenture
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Accenture report shows strong trust in banks

Accenture has released a new study highlighting something of a mixed bag where banks' relationships with their customers are concerned.

The company's UK Financial Services report revealed that consumer trust in their banks is at the highest level since 2012. However, it also warned that some financial institutions' strategies of emphasising digital-only interactions could raise the risk of alienating consumers.

Gaining trust and satisfaction

Key findings from the survey of approximately 4,600 adults showed that consumer trust in banks has improved by 11 percentage points over the past two years, reaching 40 per cent. This means retail banks are now at a similar level to high-street retailers in this regard.

The level of customer satisfaction with bank services has risen to 70 per cent, a significant improvement from 57 per cent in 2012.

Accenture's research highlighted some significant changes in how people interact with their financial services providers.

The proportion of consumers who visit branches at least once a month has dropped from 52 per cent to 32 per cent since 2015, while the number using ATMs with the same frequency dropped by 20 percentage points to 62 per cent.

There has been a decline of seven percentage points in the number of customers who engage with their bank by telephone at least once a month, while the proportion using mobile banking regularly has remained consistent at 34 per cent.

However, consumers still attach a lot of importance to human interaction for certain tasks. Seven out of ten wanted to be able to raise a complaint with a human adviser, while 63 per cent preferred to open accounts in person.

Peter Kirk, leader of Accenture's financial services distribution and marketing practice in the UK, said: "The jump in consumer trust is good news for banks, showing improvements in digital services are working.

"At the same time, the number of customers regularly visiting the branch is significantly reducing, but the number of customers regularly using mobile digital service remains static. This could be a concern for the banks as consumers still say they want to have the human touch."

Mr Kirk said the delivery of convenient customer experiences that blend human and digital services while maintaining trust will be "the next challenge" for financial institutions.

What do consumers want?

As UK banks continue to work towards delivering the strongest experiences for their customers and strengthening brand loyalty, one of the most important tasks will be to gain a clear understanding of what people want.

According to the Accenture research, one concept that is likely to prove particularly important is personalisation.

More than half (56 per cent) of respondents to the survey said they would appreciate relevant offers based on their location, while two-thirds (66 per cent) felt it was important for banks to use personal data to provide bespoke, useful advice to customers.

Furthermore, more than a quarter of the people who had switched to a new banking provider in the past year did so because of a lack of personalised services.

Mr Kirk commented: "Because consumers today expect banks to anticipate their needs and offer tailored services, the key will be offering the right balance of personalised, relevant offers and interactions, rather than impersonal transactions."

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Image: iStock/YinYang

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