UK consumers’ trust in banks is at the highest since 2012, says Accenture

UK consumers’ trust in banks is at the highest since 2012, says Accenture

Accenture’s UK Financial Services report, which surveyed approximately 4,600 adults, has found that consumer trust in banks over the past two years has increased by 11%, to 40% and customer satisfaction with banks increased to 70%.

This increase in trust coincides with an increase in digital banking services, as consumers make more frequent banking transactions.

However, the study also warns that banks need to be careful as UK consumers are physically interacting with physical banks much less. The number of consumers who visit branches at least once a month has decreased from 52% to 32%, since 2015, while the number of consumers who use ATMs at least once a month has decreased by 24%.

Despite reduced bank branch visits, consumers still want human advisers for banking services. According to the study, seven out of 10 consumers want the ability to raise a complaint with a human adviser, and almost two-thirds want to be able to open an account in person.

“The jump in consumer trust is good news for banks, showing improvements in digital services are working,” said Peter Kirk, who leads Accenture’s financial services distribution and marketing practice in the UK “At the same time, the number of customers regularly visiting the branch is significantly reducing, but the number of customers regularly using mobile digital service remains static. This could be a concern for the banks as consumers still say they want to have the human touch. The next challenge is how banks provide convenient customer experiences that blend human and digital services to stop them becoming faceless and putting their newly earned trust at risk.”

Two-thirds of surveyed consumers said it was important that a bank used personal data to provide advice relevant to their personal circumstances, with more than half saying they would find personalised offers based on their location useful.

In a move supporting greater use of artificial intelligence (AI) to serve customers personally, 40% of surveyed consumers said they would support banks analysing their spending patterns to warn them if they could overspend that month.

Despite acknowledging the value of exchanging personal data for convenient banking services, only 5% of consumers believe that their personal financial data would be more secure with AI than with a human advisor.

“Because consumers today expect banks to anticipate their needs and offer tailored services, the key will be offering the right balance of personalised, relevant offers and interactions, rather than impersonal transactions,” Kirk added. “Consumers want natural conversation with a bank that understands their needs and acts in their best interest, while keeping their data safe and secure. This is particularly significant given the data revolution expected with open banking in the UK, which will challenge banks to compete on consumer experience. We know that customers have evolving attitudes towards the privacy of their personal data and the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May will add further fuel to the fire. Banks will be keenly aware of the need to let the customer retain control and to be careful not to cross the line from convenient to intrusive.”

Read the full report here: Accenture’s UK Financial Services Customer Survey 2018

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