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Channel management key priority for banks as consumer contact points proliferate

02 April 2014  |  6083 views  |  3 Blurred out woman touching connection icon

UK consumers used an average of 6.2 channels to do business with their banks in 2014, driven by a surge in uptake of digital and social communications tools.

Updating an earlier study from 2012, BT and Avaya say the number of different ways that people use to contact their financial services providers has grown by 44% in the intervening period. In 2012, people contacted their banks, building societies and insurers using an average of 4.3 different channels, such as face-to-face at the branch, telephone, Website, by post and ATM, and via the then-emerging mobile and social routes.

A surge in uptake of mobile apps, Web chat, social media and video calls is driving the expansion of bank-to-consumer contact points in 2014. The number of people using mobile apps has leapt from seven per cent in 2012, to 23% in 2014. Webchat has grown from one per cent to 11% in the same period. And video is beginning to be used for the first time, with three per cent of people having tried it to contact their financial services companies in 2014 (versus zero per cent in 2012).

Social media is also growing in popularity as a contact channel, with the study showing that the number of people using Facebook to interact with their financial services providers has grown from three per cent in 2012 to eight per cent in 2014. A quarter of the 2000 consumers surveyed say that they would like to engage more with their banks, building societies and insurers via social media, with 24%t happy to make contact via Twitter.

But despite the growing use of these digital channels, it appears that people still want the human touch traditionally delivered by their bank or building society branch, with more than half of those sampled (55%) believing that banks have focused too much on automating services to the detriment of face-to-face interaction. The study found that four out of five people still visited a branch in the year prior to being surveyed. Almost half (48%) say that having a named individual to email or phone would help them warm to their financial services providers.

Simon Culmer, managing director of Avaya in the UK and Ireland, says: "With over four out of five people having visited their branch in the year prior to the survey, this research tells us that customers aren't substituting one channel for another. Instead, customers are happy to combine traditional channels with digital ones to achieve the best result."

Comments: (3)

Hitesh Thakkar
Hitesh Thakkar - FIS Payments Software and Services India - India | 02 April, 2014, 14:31

1. Increased used of Mobile may be due to Remote Check capture and other such mobile banking services.

2. Very useful to give insight and motivation to position Social media based banking services especially Payments.

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Bradley Howard
Bradley Howard - Endava - London | 02 April, 2014, 14:50

This is a great report, with lots of customer insight.

It's a good case study for other industries too - it proves that customers want the choice to interact with companies however and whenever the customer chooses, and that each channel isn't a replacement for previous channels.

It would be nice to see common elements across channels - such as PINs and passwords. Most high street banks have different PIN and password requirements for all channels, without a hint of Single Sign On anywhere to be found.

How about using Facebook or Twitter to sign on to digital banking services?

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 04 April, 2014, 18:32

Interesting study. Reinforces the case for omnichannel banking. 

From Multichannel To Omnichannel And Beyond

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