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Spend more on personal care and less on technology, wealthy customers tell banks

12 November 2012  |  5334 views  |  3 Team meeting

The UK wealthy are resisting engaging with their banks via new technologies in a bid to return to old school banking values, according to a YouGov survey of 1000 high net worth individuals.

Although respondents conceded technology has changed the way they bank, 76% of the high net worth individuals (HNWIs) who were quizzed said it's not a focus on technology they want, but a one to one personal service.

The research cites mistrust and a lack of confidence in the banking system as the key reason for wanting to return to old fashioned banking.

As banks press on with investment in online and mobile channels and seek to downsize their branch networks, only 12% of HNW respondents to a separate study of 350 wealthy consumers by Duncan Lawrie Private Bank, said that the introduction of new technologies and innovations would make them switch banking provider.

"It seems that the key for banks to trying to re-establish their customers' faith and loyalty is to sit down and talk," says YouGuv in its summary of the results.

The results will come as no surprise to private bankers, who were castigated earlier this year for their failure to engage with their clients through social media channels. A study by investment portal Assentium accused private banks of having "amateurish" social media strategies, often failing to establish anything more than a token presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,

Matthew Parden, managing director for Duncan Lawrie Private Bank says that it would appear that all customers really want is personal care and high service standards.

"Given that banks are throwing all their innovation spend on mobile technologies, it's surprising there is such a strong customer requirement to connect via more traditional means," he says of the YouGov research. "It is a difficult time for the banking industry, but this survey highlights how important it is for banks not to lose sight of their customers' real needs."

Comments: (3)

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York | 13 November, 2012, 04:18

Technology can, and should, be part of the solution for personal care of customers. The two are not mutually exclusive.

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Salil Ravindran
Salil Ravindran - Oracle - Bangalore | 13 November, 2012, 11:28

This segment hardly cares about technology at the delivery point. Considering how they are pampered by wealth advisors, that is the only channel of interest to them. Having said that insight led advices can only be enabled by technology and hence one should never rule out the role of technology.

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 14 November, 2012, 15:08

Banks use customer-facing technology to (A) Equip bankers with devices and applications to enrich customer-facing tasks (B) Urge customers to  use technology to perform many banking tasks in self-service mode. Up until and including Web 1.0, use case A was more prominent, so technology and personal care were not mutually exclusive. With the advent of Web 2.0, RIA and mobile apps from the vendors' side and cost pressures from banks' side, there is a rise in use case B where technology and personal care are undoubtedly becoming mutually exclusive. The angst among HNIs - not to mention other customers - to wider use of technology shouldn't therefore come as a surprise. HNIs might prefer to use their time and effort to become UNWIs rather than jump the several hoops required to carry out many self-service banking tasks e.g. make / receive an ePayment. In an op-ed article I'd written a couple of months ago for the American Journal of Internet Banking And Commerce - I'll provide the hyperlink if Finextra permits - I'd predicted that, unless banks reduce friction in technology, they "face the risk of their customers going back to branches, checks and cash". Looks like HNIs have already expressed their intent to do so. It won't be too long before others do.

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