Banking customers want more than ever – are you ready to respond?

A new NCR survey reveals consumers expect greater personalization and a more integrated service from their banks. Are companies ready to respond?

With more options available than ever for savvy consumers looking for a bank – and it being much easier to switch to a different provider if their chosen bank fails to meet expectations – banks have to work even harder than in the past to stand out from the crowd and make sure they’re offering an engaging, unique experience in order to attract and, crucially, retain customers.

But do banks really know where they should be focusing their efforts? We recently conducted a survey of consumers in the UK to find out what they really expect from their financial services providers in today’s environment. And the findings were fascinating, as they revealed exactly what customers expect from a modern bank, and should hopefully give financial institutions few key directions for their efforts.

A personal, seamless experience

Personalization has been a big buzzword in the industry for a while now, and our survey shows exactly why. Almost nine out of ten people (87 percent) either agreed or strongly agreed that banking services should be tailored to each individual user.

What’s more, 94 percent expect a seamless service that works across all devices and platforms, while 91 percent want to see innovative solutions from their provider. More than a third of respondents (35 percent) also strongly agreed that banking services need to work around their lives, being available whenever it is most convenient for them.

Time for banks to step up

However, it seems that at the moment, many banks are failing to meet the high expectations of their customers. While this will undoubtedly be the source of much frustration for many consumers, it does present great opportunities for banks that take steps to respond to these demands and deliver the services today’s users now expect.

For example, when it comes to personalization, 43 percent of respondents stated that their bank does not currently offers services tailored specifically to their needs. Meanwhile, fewer than one in five consumers (18 percent) agreed that their bank delivers a seamless experience across all channels, and just 14 percent strongly agreed that their bank as innovative.

An essential part of everyday life

Services that are able to meet people’s needs whenever and wherever they are vital. The survey found just 16 percent of people strongly agreed their bank is currently able to work effectively around their lives. Yet as more people turn to digital channels for the majority of their day-to-day activities, it will be hugely important for banks to find new ways to make these channels more personal and relevant to every individual customer.

However, physical channels shouldn’t be overlooked either, as these remain an important part of the banking mix for many people. While nine out of ten consumers (89 percent) interacting with on online portal or mobile app at least once a week, nearly six out of ten (57 percent) used an ATM in the same timeframe, and the research shows people are still keen to interact offline.

More than half (51 percent) would be comfortable using ATM for a wider range of banking services in the future, while 54 percent would feel comfortable or very comfortable doing using such services at a high-end retailer when making an expensive purchase.

The survey shows how important it is for banks to demonstrate to customers they have a deep understanding of their personal desires and expectations. Those they are prepared to be innovative and embrace new technology have great opportunities to enhance their reputation and ensure today’s extremely demanding customers remain satisfied.

Written by Ortrud Wenzel

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