According to consumers worldwide, financial institutions excel at leveraging digital technology to meet convenience, choice and access needs of customers, but banks have permission to do more to become trusted advisors and move the banking relationship beyond transactional convenience to the center of the consumers’ living experience.
In order to do so, consumers worldwide want to see banks increase performance in basic banking areas to meet customer expectations and win trust. Those are just some of the findings of a new in-depth global research study released by FIS™ (FIS), a global leader in banking and payments technology as well as consulting and outsourcing solutions.
The FIS Consumer Banking PACE Index™ tracks how financial institutions are performing against customer expectations in nine different countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands and Thailand, using data compiled from more than 9,000 banking consumers. Commissioned by FIS, the study was conducted by TNS, one of the world’s largest independent research agencies.
While some of the results show the industry meeting or exceeding customer expectations - banks exceed expectations when it comes to convenience and connectivity, for instance - many of the responses were striking for the opportunities they present for financial institutions, especially as the trust factor continues to important for consumers.
Results of the study show that, worldwide, banked consumers say financial institutions excel at providing digital access and convenience. However, in basic banking areas such as fair and transparent pricing, banks fall below consumer expectations. In fact, only one in four respondents believes a financial institution meets his or her needs in these basic trust and relationship areas. In addition, the study concludes there is great opportunity for banks to win consumer support by packaging rewards programs with personalized, customized banking products to meet customer needs.
This suggests that while the financial industry as a whole is successfully delivering digital access solutions, there are significant opportunities to reset the foundation for consumer relationships. In addition, the results indicate financial institutions can forge deeper relationships via the digital experience by fully leveraging online, mobile and social platforms to integrate with consumers’ lives through insight-driven alerts, advisory services, planning tools and more.
“New providers and non-traditional financial institutions continue to make inroads, particularly amongst younger generations, who studies show will soon make up the majority of bank revenues,” said Anthony Jabbour, CEVP, Integrated Financial Solutions, FIS. “With these challengers poised to grab customers, financial institutions have the opportunity to lead with their strengths and re-define advisory services. Consumers value the banking relationship and banks have a significant opportunity to be viewed as more than a vehicle for transactional convenience, but rather a true focal point of consumers’ financial lives.”
United States Results
Financial institutions in the United States fared better than all other countries except Germany in the survey. However, while U.S. consumers rated their banks highly for providing in-person service, their perception of security - particularly in the area of protection of personal identities - was lower than many other countries.
Large Banks vs Small
Community banks and credit unions saw favorable responses for quality of service and in-person experience, which surpassed customer expectations. Large banks, on the other hand, struggled with consumer perceptions around fairness and transparency; lowering the overall index score.
Retail banking customers in the United States expressed concerns about the security of their personal data. The concern was significantly higher than other countries, lowering the index score, but also highlighting the ever-growing value of cybersecurity measures. This coincides with other recent studies in which consumers say negative security reports affect their view of and trust in companies and financial institutions.
The study’s research method was comprised of 1,000 individual customer surveys in each focus country. Surveys were conducted online, with individuals aged 18-75 who have a checking or equivalent account with a financial institution, and who have financial decision-making authority within their household. Questions were designed to minimize cross-cultural biases, where feasible; for scalar questions, normalization procedures were used in the analysis to mitigate bias. Surveys also were targeted to meet age and gender demographics for each country.