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, 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: Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States 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 – Canadians, in particular, said banks exceeded their expectations for 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 be a concern for consumers.
Canadian financial institutions finished on the higher end of the PACE Index, achieving a 76, just four points behind the United States and seven points shy of overall leader Germany. Part of the reason for the higher score was respondents’ pleasure with in-person banking support and product innovation expectations. In fact, three out of four Canadians reported being satisfied with their bank.
However, respondents also presented Canadian banks with room to grow in the area of safety and security, two areas of particular importance to those in the survey and two areas in which perception did not meet expectations.
Security and the protection of personal identity were two of the areas rated most important by respondents. In both areas, Canadian banks have opportunities to grow, with those surveyed giving low ratings to their banks. Slightly less important to respondents, but falling much farther below the satisfaction line, was fairness, which helped drag down the country’s overall index score.
Canadian banks scored well when it came to offering digital payments and providing in-person service. Along with a positive score for the simplicity of banking, this demonstrates success by banks at meeting their customers’ needs, although they must improve their advice and fairness ratings in order to be considered trusted advisors.
Banks in Canada have great opportunities for growth in the areas of customization and customer recognition. Respondents said they were least satisfied with the level of customization offered by their banks and by the rewards they receive for their business.
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.
The study’s research method was comprised of 1,000 individual consumer 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.
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