By Lewis Pinner, Senior Director at NetApp of Enterprise and Globals
Trust has always been a key player when it comes to the relationship between the financial sector and its consumers. But confidence is on the line when technology innovations are unable to live up to expectations.
From restricted availability of data to complete outages, consumer trust is increasingly at risk when services go down. Whilst there is pressure on financial services to increase productivity and digitise services, the customer must be at the heart of these decisions to improve retention and build trust for the long-term.
And this assurance couldn’t be more important following this year’s Talk Money Week event. The UK’s financial road to recovery played centre stage, with a focus on the Covid crisis’ effect on personal finances and how a staggering 9 in 10 UK adults still don’t find it easy to talk about money or even discuss it full stop.
Understandably, consumers today face a lot of anxiety and stress when it comes to personal finance. So, as the financial services industry continues to innovate, it must ensure its consumers are taken along on the journey.
Establishing and building on trust will be fundamental to consumers who are already concerned about their financial security – whether it’s protecting against outages or ensuring that services always meet expectations.
Online banking: what does the UK think?
When it comes to digital services, convenience has always been at the top of the list for consumers. And this is no different when it comes to online banking.
In fact, our recent research found that an overwhelming majority of UK consumers (82%) now prefer to access information or services from their banking provider via their website. More than 9 out of 10 (94%) even rated online banking as the most important banking service – higher than any of the other countries surveyed.
But despite this substantial preference for the convenience of online banking, trust continues to be an issue for UK consumers when it comes to financial services.
We found that over half (53%) of the people surveyed felt held back from the convenience of online banking because of concerns over safety – sharing that if they knew more about the safety of online banking, they would start to use it or use it more often.
With greater availability comes greater responsibility
We already know that customers increasingly value instant access to their information online – from a small retail purchase to being able to check a payment went out on time.
Yet, when an outage strikes that prevents customers from accessing their financial services, this can affect customer satisfaction and trust. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, the impact can be catastrophic. The media storm that occurred following Meta’s 6-hour, business-wide outage, is a prime example.
Just under a month ago we even saw Barclays’ mobile banking app become the third UK bank to suffer online issues, after Natwest and HSBC. For three hours, some 2,000 users experienced issues accessing their accounts via the Barclays app. As is now the way – a number of customers took to social media to report the outage and express frustration.
When an outage happens, panic sets in. Customers question why they can no longer access their data, who has access to their information, and if services will remain inaccessible. In short, they start to lose trust in the services they rely on to be at their fingertips.
How does this lack of trust manifest in consumer responses?
In addition, this mistrust extends to a reluctance to use third-party solutions. Whilst 82% of UK consumers like the convenience of paying through a third-party provider such as PayPal or Apple Pay, 64% are afraid their personal account data may be stolen by criminals if they use third party providers.
Plus, people still want to talk to humans – short and simple. We found that UK consumers most value an in-person relationship with a bank, with over half still preferring to go into a bank’s branch (52%) to access information or services.
By contrast, confidence in chatbot capabilities is low, with trust being the biggest barrier to consumer adoption of new technologies. Just 8.5% would prefer to use a chat tool to access information and services offered by a banking provider.
What we’re seeing here is a continuous stream of outages and breaches in cybersecurity making headlines and putting a continuous strain on consumer trust when it comes to personal data and confidence in service availability.
Banking services must deal with these concerns head on and providing the best service to their customers goes hand-in-hand. With this, they need to find ways to utilise a data-driven approach, allowing them to manage processes such as mitigating risk, automating payments and managing fraud.
Consumers in the UK want the convenience, but the technology available must meet – even exceed– expectations to win over the trust of consumers in an increasingly digital, data-driven environment.