The financial services industry continues to face negative public opinion, with its reputation increasingly damaged by numerous scandals - mis-selling, lack of transparency, and technology failures (think, for example, about the recent RBS/ Natwest mobile banking failure). In this blog we look at three challenges that the online financial services industry is facing today.
1. Understanding customers
Public opinion of the financial services sector overall is negative, with customers voicing their opinions in the press and on social media. Getting constructive feedback from existing customers can be difficult through the white noise of complaints, but what about the 75% of visitors to financial websites that never even complete an enquiry? How can financial services institutions find out what visitors think about their online experience? And what visitors really need from their products and services?
Qualitative feedback is an excellent way to connect with your visitors, understand their problems and to improve your site. Triggering a feedback box when the customer appears to be leaving the site is an excellent way to gauge what people really think of your website.
When Barclays launched their ‘Your Bank’ campaign, it prompted over 450,000 engagements that allowed them to improve their offering.
2. Customer loyalty & engagement
Financial services institutions need to work harder to earn trust and loyalty, and the concept of a ‘bank for life’ no longer exists. New legislation has made it much easier for customers to switch, and they are even rewarded for doing so. A recent article shows thousands of customers are leaving banks for less traditional providers. Online customers have hundreds of products and providers at their fingertips and they can easily compare price, terms and conditions, and even customer reviews. Keeping visitors engaged can be as simple as delivering website personalization with relevant, targeted content.
For example, don’t upset your existing customers by showing them offers that only apply to new customers: free balance transfers, or new account switching rewards. Prompting visitors with reassurance messaging, or links to FAQs can remove confusion and ensures they are getting products suitable for their needs. Using onsite analytics to understand visitor segments and their behavior, ensures you are engaging visitors with personalized content, at the right time and place in their journey.
Bank of Scotland have a banner on their homepage offering loyal customers reduced loan rates. They could personalize this section of the site for new visitors with a more relevant offer, for example their credit card section has a balance transfer offer for new customers.
3. Technology & innovation
The financial services landscape becomes more competitive all the time, with disruptive players setting the benchmark - and visitors' expectations - for an engaging online experience. New entrants such as Atom Bank and Metro Bank have a competitive advantage as they are using the latest bespoke technology rather than outdated legacy IT systems. They are able to offer users more accessible, 24/7 services through online and mobile banking. Recent research from Norway's SpareBank shows mobile and tablet now represent 60% of all their digital traffic.
Optimizing mobile and tablet pages to offer a comparable experience with desktop is hugely important as digital traffic increases. And ensuring visitors have the same experience across all channels, including in branch is key. Recent Forrester analysis shows that online experiences are still inferior to human interaction with branch advisers.
More banks are offering live text and video chat options to increase trust and online customer experience. Bank of America offer live chat, and ASB bank have introduced the concept of a virtual branch.
While it is true that the financial services industry has begun to take action to repair its relationship with customers, there is still plenty of room to improve the current digital experience. By having a developed personalization strategy that centres on the visitor, you will have the ability to target and tailor your service to individual customer needs whatever stage of the visitor life cycle they are at.
To find out more about the importance of visitor opinion and the voice of the customer, why not look at some of our latest research “The Value of Customer Feedback”?