Financial services customers spell out their channel needs

Bank customers want their online experience integrated with their face to face contact in branches, new research has found.

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Bank customers want their online experience integrated with their face to face contact in branches, new research has found.

Financial services firms focusing their attention on pilot mobile banking services may be missing the mark, the research carried out by TNS for Fujitsu services suggests.

Nearly two thirds of the 2,500 bank customers from across Europe who took part in the survey said they now preferred online banking. But personal visits to a branch came in second, with 53%. Telephone call centre contact was third choice at 43%, while mobile services through internet or SMS came far behind on just 5%.

The research, which included focus groups and interviews as well as a questionnaire, found that customers also wanted their web and branch experience to be integrated.

“Although much has been said in recent years about the importance of multi-channel integration, the survey suggests that integration is most critical between the two most used channels – internet and branch,” said Andy Stewart, European strategy director for financial services at Fujitsu.

“The other channels are important, and standards of service need to remain high, but there is less of an imperative for them to work with each other,” he said.

The customers - from Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden – also indicated that ease of use was the most important factor when using technology driven services, with 37% putting a good experience of automated services first.

Only 18% - less than half as many – said the security of their personal data was the most important factor.

“Offering self-service options is no longer a differentiator – it’s expected by all types of customers,” Stewart said. “It’s also expected to be easy and convenient – if online self-service doesn’t deliver then the consumer actually gets more frustrated and disappointed than if the option wasn’t there at all.”

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