Do consumers still trust their banks? How satisfied are they with their financial providers? Do customers still use branches or do they prefer other interaction channels? How is the customer experience in banking changing? What challenges and opportunities does unbundling offer? These are some of the questions that a total of 26,000 people answered for the international consultancy EPAM, the results of which have been published in the Consumer Banking Report 2022, a massive survey conducted in countries such as the United States, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada and Australia.
What have we as consumers had to deal with this past year? From runaway inflation, ongoing supply chain disruptions, various geopolitical upheavals, to the fall in the value of cryptoassets… These are some of the major events that have had a significant impact on global economies in 2022, and have affected our perception of the financial sector.
Let’s take a closer look at the key findings of this EPAM report to map consumer sentiment, which is key for banks when making strategic decisions for their future business plans.
Capitalizing on Client’s Trust and Becoming their Main Provider
82% of consumers are satisfied with their banks, a result that has improved when compared with previous years analyzed in the Consumer Banking Report. However, EPAM’s warning is clear: banks should be aware that clients are increasingly embracing new financial services from companies such as Amazon, and are eager for new financial experiences.
Although consumers show a preference for actively selecting their own personalized financial services experience from multiple providers, they still maintain a high level of trust in their primary bank with a score of 79%. This figure presents a great opportunity for banks to differentiate themselves and seek competitive advantages.
The report also notes that banks should create strategies to become the primary provider of financial services to their customers, and seek to aggregate or regroup data from other services in order to maintain the excellent degree of trust reflected in a rate of 82% satisfaction, but bearing in mind that 77% of customers surveyed by EPAM say they could be tempted to change.
“As services fragment and become better integrated and consumers become more familiar with the ubiquitous nature of financial services – including payments, investments, education and more – the answer is clear: they do not want or need to get everything in one place. Consumers now have the luxury of choosing where to source specific services”, says Panos Archondakis, Vice President of Account Management at EPAM.
The trend toward combining the best financial services and products continues to grow steadily. By analyzing data from previous years’ reports, we can see that 78% of Americans use services beyond their main account, a finding that especially concerns younger people between the ages of 18 and 24, who are more likely to use aggregation tools.
“It is crucial that banks be willing to provide solutions and even motivate consumers to try new products and services that are on par with or better than the alternatives they find on the market,” explains Juliana Ortiz, Head of Customer Success at Latinia. “Banks that manage to anticipate clients’ potential problems will make the exponential leap towards a new Customer Experience based on personalization, and with Latinia’s Real Time products they have the best allies to achieve this,” she adds.
Creating Meaningful Connections through Omnichannel Banking
Another very interesting finding from the report is that 85% of respondents have visited their bank branch in the past year, although most have done so because they do not have online access to the service needed, or because they found it easier to conduct certain transactions in person. It’s no secret that the pandemic accelerated digital transformation, but many consumers surveyed once again say they like face-to-face interactions offered by bank branches. These consumers emphasize that personalized interactions are important for higher-value services, and 38% turn to their physical branch when they need financial advice.
“The key here is to move away from a strictly transactional environment where the focus is on products and services and instead leverage the value of consumer trust to create deeper, more engaging relationships”, says Alex Jimenez, Managing Principal of Financial Services at EPAM.
The Consumer Banking Report highlights the opportunity for banks to leverage their customers’ trust and start offering quality and personalized services through their branch network, without forgetting the potential of digital channels to create a new experience based on advising and omnichannel banking.
“It is clear from this EPAM report that consumers are satisfied with their banks, but this does not prevent them from seeking out new products and services created or driven by FinTechs, in which case they end up losing clients’ financial data. Banks should try to keep customers under their roof using aggregation, and rethink their communication strategy to offer value in each of the bank-customer interaction channels”, concludes Juliana Ortiz.