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Connecting with customers in an era of low trust

Three imperatives for financial service providers in the UK


The results of Accenture’s 2016 UK Financial Services Customer Survey confirm that there has been a widespread deterioration in consumers’ levels of trust across multiple industries, from retail and utilities to financial services and technology. Trust takes time to build, is quick to lose, and reputational events in one sector often have repercussions elsewhere.

Supermarkets and other retailers have suffered the most in this respect. As a consequence, financial services providers are now experiencing levels of trust that are almost on a par with the traditionally more-trusted retail sector. Even so, just 29 percent of respondents consider banks to be trustworthy, with the equivalent figure for insurers being even lower (at 20 percent). But there is encouraging news too. People are more satisfied with their own banks and insurers than they were a year ago, and they are also more likely to recommend them to friends and family. Financial services providers still need to work harder to meet their current and prospective customers’ needs.

Banks and insurers will be able to promote trust, increase satisfaction and drive customer engagement if they are willing to embrace three imperatives—build tailored propositions, form interconnected ecosystems, and design a frictionless customer journey.



Consumers still place a high value on having access to a blend of integrated digital and physical channels.

Accenture’s 2016 UK Financial Services Customer Survey reveals that:

  • Banks beat high-street retailers to become the most trusted among institutions covered by the survey.

  • Consumers still place a high value on having access to a blend of integrated digital and physical channels.

  • Use of mobile banking has soared in recent years, but branches are still widely used.

  • Respondents with eight or more different types of financial products—ones with higher financial sophistication—are also far more likely to make use of digital products and services.

  • Switching rates are significantly higher among financially sophisticated customers.

  • Satisfaction is rising, especially within the life insurance industry.

  • Consumers are more likely to recommend their bank or insurer than they were a year ago.

  • Consumers remain focused on price and value for money.

  • Many insurance customers place a value on product consolidation and simplification, particularly when it comes to life insurance and savings

  • Consumers already feel that financial services providers hold a lot of their personal data, but many would be willing to share more info in return for specific benefits.

  • 48 percent of respondents would actively consider sharing more data with their motor or home insurer if this resulted in lower premiums.

  • Customers are very wary of involving social media in their financial affairs. 

  • Age plays a pivotal role in determining acceptable types of digital interaction.


Winning financial service providers will be those who embrace three imperatives:

  1. Build tailored propositions: Adopt a modular approach to product design, one that allows solutions to be adapted for different customer segments. Simplify products and enable smoother, more integrated channels to meet the rapidly evolving needs of their individual customers.

  2. Form interconnected ecosystems: Customers will increasingly demand a bespoke blend of products and services. To achieve this, successful organisations must form connections between services, devices and places. Platforms that scale to do this are essential, and these will offer the most engaging and profitable results.

  3. Design a frictionless customer journey: Manage and smooth out inherent seams that exist between different channels so as not to disrupt the user experience.