UK comes 6th in global league table of customer engagement
Being male, married and a millennial are the key traits of the most engaged banking customers, according to global research conducted into the relationships of more than 18,000 consumers.
The study, conducted by customer engagement specialist Affinion in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, set out to understand the factors that influence a customer’s overall engagement with their bank. These findings form part of a bigger research project which also asked respondents to answer questions about their attitudes towards their mobile phone provider and favourite retailer.
The research revealed that customer engagement with banks is higher than mobile phone providers, with an overall ‘Customer Engagement Score’ of 67 compared with 64. The retail industry came top with a score of 68. The Customer Engagement Score is a mark out of 100 which was developed as a metric from the research to show how engaged a consumer is based on their responses to a series of questions about their relationship with these three industries.
The research revealed that millennials (25–34 years old) are the most engaged with their banks, with a score of 71. Older people reported less emotional attachment with their banks, in particular the 65+ age range which had a score of 63. The report also showed differences between married and single people, with married respondents reporting an engagement score of 68, compared with 65 in singletons.
The research revealed how engagement with banks varies by country, with Turkish, Brazilian and American consumers reporting the highest level of engagement. In contrast, respondents from Denmark, Finland and Norway indicated the lowest levels of engagement. In financial services, the UK secured a score of 64 against the global average of 67.
UK Country manager of Affinion, Karen Wheeler, said: “Banks have been faced with huge challenges since the financial crash. Traditionally, customers have tended to be monogamous when it comes to their bank, but this research shows there is still room for improvement and there is opportunity for financial services providers to form even deeper relationships with their customers.
“Our study also proves that customers who buy additional products or services and interact more frequently via multiple channels are more engaged. But taking that further and offering products or services that add value to their daily lives is what will really help a company to build meaningful relationships with its customers.
“Insight from this research offers significant lessons from which businesses can learn. Overall, the customers with higher engagement scores also stated that they were more likely to stay with a business for longer, spend more and advocate a brand or business to family and friends. Turning customers into advocates should therefore be a bank’s ultimate goal as advocacy breeds advocacy. Concentrating on this will ultimately increase customer retention and drive business growth.”
Professor in Marketing & Consumer Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, Janine Dermody, commented: “It’s been extremely compelling to compare how customer engagement varies by industry. Should banks have received greater loyalty scores, given the financial nature of the customer-bank relationship and the high level of trust accorded to them within relationship quality? This may be attributable to switching behaviour, which is being actively encouraged within the financial sector. All banks want to understand their customers’ thought processes in order to evolve their relationship from first involvement to longevity and loyalty.
“With the results varying across countries, gender and age groups, this insight can be used to develop a number of different customer profiles. For example, the fact that Brazil and Turkey consistently exceed the global metrics across all three industries points towards the increasing presence and importance of emerging markets and their impact on the growth of the global economy.”
The research asked 18,447 consumers from 13 countries questions on their attitudes towards their banks, telcos providers and retailers, including about customer experience and relationship quality.
To find out more about this research, please visit http://www.affinion.co.uk/insight/the-connected-customer/ for further information and analysis.