Accenture’s 2014 UK Financial Services Customer Survey—based on the responses to online interviews with 3,604 UK current account customers in March 2014—provides insights into customer perceptions and behaviors governing a range of key factors such as their banking relationships and considerations that influence their choice of providers.
With the economy picking up, our research shows that trust in banks has begun to recover and customer satisfaction is holding firm, which provides banks with an opportunity to deepen engagement. There is an ongoing rise in digital behaviors and usage, but perhaps more surprising is that branch use is also quietly rising—there has been a sharp jump since 2012. Although an increasing proportion of customers value the personal contact and service available in-branch, one in four customers said that they could consider using a branchless, online “pure digital bank.”
As banks develop strategies for re-engaging customers and growing their share of wallet, our research suggests they need to focus on the real customer experience, extend the digital experience, rise to the in-branch challenge and develop an active retention strategy. For banks, there are many routes to customer relevance. The winners will be those who succeed in taking customers with them on the journey.
This report is based on the results of Accenture’s 2014 UK Financial Services Customer Survey, which consisted of online interviews with 3,604 UK current account customers conducted in March 2014. The questionnaire probed their perceptions and behaviors governing a range of key factors including:
Their banking relationships.
Switching and complaints activity.
Levels of satisfaction with service experiences.
Attitudes to digital services.
Considerations that influence their choice of providers.
The research was part of a much larger study of almost 10,000 banking, motor insurance and life insurance customers in the United Kingdom. It is the fifth time Accenture has run its customer survey in Banking—previous studies were published in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Survey results highlighted the following key findings:
There is an opportunity for banks to deepen engagement as customer trust stabilizes. It seems the accelerating economic recovery in 2014 has helped banks to turn round the key barometric measures of customers’ views on attributes such as trust, transparency and ethics. While switching continues to edge upwards, customers’ perceptions of their banks have become more benign, and they are showing themselves more willing than in 2012 to recommend their current providers and consider them for future purchases.
Digital behaviors and interactions models continue to evolve. Looking at how customers are engaging with their banks, there is an ongoing rise in digital behaviors and usage, resulting in more diverse and complex patterns of interaction. Internet channels continue to dominate, while mobile banking is still growing, fueled by ubiquitous mobile devices, low-cost data and the widening availability of mobile apps. Perhaps more surprising is that branch use is also quietly rising, with a sharp jump since 2012.
Customers want new, more engaging banking experiences tailored to their lifestyles. One in four customers said that they could consider using a branchless, online “pure digital bank.” But at the same time, a rising proportion of customers value the personal contact and service available in-branch. A further significant finding is that heavy mobile banking users are both more likely to become loyal advocates for a bank—but also more likely to switch if they’re unhappy with the service.
As banks develop strategies for re-engaging customers and growing their share of wallet, our research suggests they need to ask themselves:
Focus on the customer experience. Whatever the interaction, it must involve a simple, clean end-to-end experience.
Extend the digital experience. Go beyond “just transactions” to make interactions engaging and personal, and build a presence and voice where customers are communicating.
Rise to the in-branch challenge. Introduce new formats, digitally enabled features and branch locations to reflect evolving customer behaviors and needs.
Constantly review and question your proposition—and treat digital as a proposition not a channel. Use continuous feedback and improvement to ensure services reflect the real needs of real customers.
Develop an active retention strategy. Use analytics and “big data” to manage life stages and reward loyalty.