In the decade since the global financial crisis, financial services providers have made huge strides in how they use digital capabilities to interact with customers. Our survey of 4,500 UK financial services customers shows that, as a result, people are feeling more positive about their banks and insurers than they have in years. Customer trust and satisfaction in financial services is up significantly since 2015 and now rivals that of other customer-facing industries, such as retail.

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But while digital services have helped financial services providers improve the speed and convenience of customer interactions, there is a risk that the customer-provider relationship is shifting away from a foundation of engagement to something more transactional. Digitisation risks dehumanising customer relationships. Overcoming this challenge will require banks and insurers to engage customers and offer personalised, hyper-relevant offerings and interactions.

Counterintuitively, it is machines and data that have the potential to put the human element back into the conversation.

Blend the digital and physical experience to improve customer interaction

Our 2018 UK Financial Services Customer Survey found that:

  • Human touch is still very important to customers—especially for the “moments that matter” in their lives, when they crave advice and reassurance
  • Digitised experiences need to be frictionless and personalised. Lack of personalisation is the main driver for switching financial services providers.
  • Channel use is changing. In-branch and cash-machine transactions are down. Mobile interactions have remained steady—but customers who use mobile channels are doing so more frequently.
  • Young people are demanding digital options. Generation Z and Millennial customers want to interact with financial services providers using natural language and instant messaging-type digital channels.
  • Data is a sensitive issue. Despite rising trust in the financial services sector and the potential benefits they would receive, customers are still reluctant to part with personal data.
  • The more relevant the offering, the better. Customers want financial services providers to anticipate their needs and provide timely, hyper-relevant information and recommendations.

Four actions

Based on these survey findings, we've identified four actions that insurance companies and banks should take to reintroduce the human touch into their customer conversations and relationships:

  • Personalise to reverse disengagement
  • Blend physical and digital for a frictionless experience
  • Use data to create an integrated end-to-end approach
  • Know where you are in the customer conversation

Financial services companies need to bring a human touch back to their customer relationships.

Peter Kirk

Managing Director

Simon Tottman

Financial Services Research Lead


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