By Martyn Wilson, UK ISP Manager at NetApp
The past few years have seen seismic changes unfold, not just in the financial services industry, but across the global economy as a whole. During the pandemic, cashless payments were considered more secure and the increase in cashless payments and different ways of accessing financial services continued.
The decline of brick-and-mortar banks and the growing use of online banking has led to the closure of almost half of UK banks between 2015 and the end of 2021 (Source). Financial services customers are now accessing banking services through digital channels such as mobile apps and even chatbots. In the UK, 72% of customers prefer to access information and services through their provider’s website for more transactional requirements such as paying online, setting up direct debits and viewing account balances, according to a report. recent NetApp study.
During a cost of living crisis, personal finances become more important than ever and customers want to trust their banking services, both physical and digital. There is an opportunity here that financial services should not miss: to build adequate and lasting trust with customers digitally in order to retain them and encourage them to stay with them as a provider of financial services, in particular at the era of challenger banks.
What has happened to consumer confidence in financial services over the past year?
Unfortunately, over the past year, little has changed when it comes to consumer confidence in the financial services industry. Last year, NetApp released research that found consumers trust their banks to protect their money, but not their data. 80% of Britons said they felt their money was safe in their bank, but only 66% felt the same about their personal details. A worrying year later, the feeling remains the same. 78% of respondents in the UK agree that their money is safe in their bank, while only 60% think the same about their personal data.
It’s clear from NetApp’s research that there’s a problem with consumers trusting financial services with their data. What’s more disconcerting is that consumers are more confident about their money and their livelihoods – so what’s the deal when it comes to trusting banks with their data?
Financial services need to be aware of the issues that have accompanied the shift to online and digital. Banks can take some key steps to gain consumer confidence.
- Putting people at the center of financial services
When consumers think of digital financial services, what often comes to mind first is the speed, agility and convenience they offer. Financial services automation is a bit of a double-edged sword right now, because while it helps online banking be fast, it’s not enough when it comes to helping customers make those important decisions in line. For example, customers don’t feel like they can rely on advice from chatbots and robo-advisors. Despite the convenience chatbots can provide, 71% of consumers prefer human interaction for opinion-based advisory support, such as mortgages, where they need that human opinion and reassurance about those financial decisions. majors.
The key to building trust with consumers here is to ensure that customers only have access to a chatbot when deemed appropriate for their particular request. It’s about being smart with automation and giving customers that choice when it’s right, not tossing them a chatbot when they have a complex or personally difficult request that they’d like to resolve in a certain way.
Nearly half of those polled by NetApp would use online banking more often if they knew more about online banking security and more than two-thirds fear their personal data could be stolen when using providers third. It is clear that consumers are security conscious and banks need to do much more to reassure and educate them about online security; banks getting this right could lead to a sea change in consumer confidence and fundamentally encourage people to use their products and services.
Online banking providers can educate customers not only about issues such as fraud and scams, but also what they are actively doing to protect customers. As consumers make increasingly crucial financial decisions online, they want to feel reassured and trusted by those who provide these products and services.
Many financial service providers have simply evolved their products and services to be similar to their “bricks and mortar” offering, rather than building digital services from scratch. Online banking providers need to think about how they can focus on the essentials by prioritizing integrated communications, new content programs, and personalized customer journey maps and personas. Good data management should be the North Star of financial services innovation and by focusing on its potential, the customer experience can be transformed for the better.
Banking providers can also help reassure customers about digital security by continuing to innovate around current digital setups, so that banks go digital while reassuring customers at the same time. Online banking providers should consider choosing technologies that deliver smart digital banking experiences, regardless of where they are accessed.
Successfully establishing consumer trust in data
As recent research from NetApp has revealed, much more needs to be done to build trust in financial services. From educating customers about scams and online safety to the need for banks to be more human-centric, financial services organizations have no shortage of things financial services organizations can do to help. consumers to adapt to the changing digital financial services environment and build trust in the process. .