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New IDC Study Reveals How Banks Can Improve Engagement with Their Retail Customers Through Digital Channels


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A new IDC Financial Insights Perspective analyses the results of an online survey of U.K. consumers of retail banking services, high-street bank customers, and a smaller sample of building society customers and midtier players. The survey allows IDC to drill down into the attitudes towards the various aspects of the retail banking customer proposition and the different delivery channels.

There is the prospect of a revolution in customer service in the U.K. retail banking industry, due to a number of factors including:

Regulatory tailwinds. Regulators are compelling banks to build open application programming interfaces (APIs) to participate in digital customer portals by 2018.

Reduced barriers to entry for new players. Regulators have also been streamlining the licensing process for new players, while 3rd Platform technologies (cloud computing, mobile, and Big Data and analytics) can underpin cost-effective digital business models for new entrants.

The impact on customer service from other industries. Digital startups are following in the footsteps of Google and Amazon of delivering an experience that would have been impossible a short time ago, and the onus is on the banking industry to follow.

With these impacts coming from the supply side of the industry, IDC has surveyed the state of consumer behaviour and attitudes. It remains the case that the number of people who actually switch their banking providers is relatively small, so examining the wants, needs and behaviour of customers is an important part of understanding the reason for this.

This survey can help banks and technology suppliers define their strategies for channel engagement with their customer base, align their offerings with demand and avoid wasting time on unwanted updates or offerings.

Some key findings include:

  • 50% of people still choose the branch as their favoured channel to apply for a new product.
  • 61% of people, however, visit branches with tellers less than once a month or never.
  • 45% of people would be interested in using their mobile apps to block their credit or debit cards.
  • 46% are uninterested in interacting with their banks through social media.
  • Only 26% of people have heard of Android Pay, as awareness of mobile near-field communication (NFC) schemes remains low.

“The uptake of contactless card payments has been swift, with 45% having used the option in the past three months,” said Lawrence Freeborn, research manager, IDC Financial Insights. “Merchants have also seen the value of contactless card payments as a way of skipping PIN entry during busy periods, so they have encouraged adoption as well. Consumers have become familiar with the method in a relatively short time, and it is also a smaller evolution from chip and PIN payments than mobile NFC, so it seems that contactless card payments have stolen the thunder of mobile NFC at least in the short term.”

The most popular function people want to see added to their mobile apps is the ability to block their credit or debit cards, Freeborn said: “This suggests that the consumer perception of the mobile channel as insecure can be reversed if banks can position their app as a security tool with which they can control and protect their banking activities.”

For more information on the study, U.K. Consumer Banking Survey: Digital Interaction is the Key to Growth (IDC #EMEA41395516, November 2016), please visit idc.com or contact your local IDC sales office.


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