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According to the 2014 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey of nearly 4,000 bank customers in the United States and Canada, evidence suggests that traditional banks have a somewhat uncertain relationship with their customers despite the fact that nearly 40 percent of US customers—and 64 percent of Canadian customers—have been with their current bank for 10 years or more.
Results of the survey indicate that customers want a bank that’s nimble and proactive, one that can be a part of their daily lives. The idea of “convenience” in banking is undergoing a shift away from branch locations and toward digital products and services that mesh with consumers’ “smart” mobile-empowered lives. Also, banks that cling to the status quo risk being viewed more like utilities that conduct financial transactions.
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A new survey from Accenture confirms that the North American banking industry is in the midst of a major transformation. Digital technologies are creating new ways of interacting with the customer, and these shifts will only accelerate in the coming years. Branches are not going away. Yet the future will be far more digital and far more competitive, as disruption in the financial sector allows for new players.
If banks are to win in this environment, they need to defend their customer base from outside threats by strengthening their relationship with customers. This entails using digital to learn more about what their customers want.
Four specific findings emerged from the study:
Branchless banks are gaining acceptance. More than one in four customers would definitely consider a branchless digital bank if they were to switch from their current bank. This is particularly true among younger customers, who are less interested in convenient branch locations and more interested in accessing digital services at the time and place of their choosing. Nearly 40 percent of younger people ages 18 to 34 say they would consider a branchless bank.
Banking is viewed as transactional, not relationship-driven. Nearly three-quarters of US customers—two-thirds in Canada—consider their banking relationship merely transactional, rather than driven by advice or a broader relationship.
Most customers are not getting actionable advice. Fewer than half of bank customers believe that their bank provides them with actionable advice.
Customers want proactive advice for their whole financial lives. More than half of customers want their bank to proactively recommend products or services that can help meet their financial needs. Among those interested in these services, 55 percent say that it would strongly increase their loyalty to the bank.
Consumers are calling for a new service proposition—they want banks to help make their life easier, enable them to manage their money more effectively and strengthen the overall relationship with their banks.
To respond to today’s challenges, banks should advance in the following ways:
Create more relevant experiences that are seamlessly integrated across in-branch, assisted and digital channels
Extend their services deeper into consumers’ lives in their daily interactions, becoming a truly Everyday Bank
Offer more proactive advice and counseling to their customers to support them in better management of their daily financial needs
April 29, 2014
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