The financial services industry may be investing billions in technology to force customers to interact online but most consumers still crave human connections with companies such as banks, insurance and mortgage providers.
A study of 2,166 adults conducted by YouGov for Getty Images, reveals that people still favour face-to-face and over-the-phone contact, despite the digital communication channels available to them.
In-branch contact is preferred by those aged 45-54 (39%) and 55+ (43%), however, the youngest of the generations surveyed still value direct human contact. For those aged between 18 and 34, telephone comes top and then branch contact, followed closely by smartphone app communication.
In addition, while technology and innovation are widely considered to be drivers for financial service brand or product adoption, just 5% of people said a company with “technology and innovation at its heart” would be worth considering on that basis alone.
The reports claims this provides proof that, in the age of AI, blockchain and a plethora of emerging technology trends, “humanising” a brand is more important than ever – especially with the closure of high street branches.
Consumers also place value in the trustworthiness of a provider. Perhaps unsurprisingly “price” came out on top for the reason for choosing a product or service, with 35% choosing a provider based on this.
However, just under a third (31% said they have considered choosing a new financial services product because they thought the provider was trustworthy (21% have actually chosen one for this reason, 11% have considered switching providers, and 6% have gone on to switch as a result).
The study also highlights the extensive influence that online comparison and money advice websites are having on consumer decisions. It shows that “recommendations from friends and family” is no longer the single most important factor in financial services decisions.
While 35% said personal recommendations help them make a decision on which financial services provider to use, the same percentage cited said online comparison sites and 33% said money advice sites.
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