The retail banking sector has changed dramatically in recent years. This is thanks to an ever-evolving digital world, and an increasing number of new financial services players entering the market.

It’s no longer enough to be the biggest, or to offer the best. Today’s consumers know what they want and how they want to get it. Their path to conversion isn’t linear or logical, but based on changing attitudes and perceptions.

This means retail banks now need to put customer experience at the center of their brand.

They need to go to the source to determine how to become a more customer-centric organization that can compete.

Access to deep consumer insight that goes far beyond behavioral analytics is crucial in making this a reality. And with tools like GlobalWebIndex, it’s easier than ever to get.

Here, we’ll outline our latest insights into the online banking space, and how banks can leverage them to become truly consumer-centric.

72% used an internet banking service in the past month.

Nearly three-quarters of online consumers now use an internet banking service, proving how significant a seamless customer experience is in this medium.

By offering an insight-driven experience along the online journey, banks are giving customers what they want.

Tap into the consumers themselves to ensure you’re giving them the features they want, presented in the quality of interface they expect.

Who’s doing it well: Ally Bank

Digital financial services provider, Ally, claims to be “committed to constantly creating and reinventing with the singular purpose of making a real difference for our customers.”

Cleverly keeping the consumer in focus at all times, Ally continuously revisits its customer experience offering and evaluates expectations to ensure its product is always the top choice – making use of consumer research every step of the way.

And it works: Ally has consistently won awards praising their online customer experience.

30% use banking apps on mobile or tablets.

Apps are, of course, a part of everyday life for the modern bank customer.

So why wouldn’t they want a practical, easy-to-use app for their personal banking tasks?

With nearly a third already using them, and with the rise of exclusively online financial services, retail banks can rest assured that their app offering will only increase in importance.

Who’s doing it well: Revolut

Revolut is rapidly gaining popularity, and claims to go “beyond banking.” The app lets users open a bank account in minutes, and offers features like free transactions in 130 currencies, personal budgeting tools, currency exchanges at real rates, and free debit cards with global delivery.

With 1.5m+ users, Revolut combines a slick interface and user-friendly features with great offers and a true sense of customer-centricity.

As one user review says: “Revolut gives you everything you’d expect from a bank and so much more, all without actually being one.” There’s a challenge.

Online banking users spend an average of 2 hours 20 mins on social media each day.

It should come as no surprise that this is a crucial channel for banks to target.

98% of internet users are on social media, and the average person has accounts across multiple platforms.

With users now spending significantly more time on these platforms, it’s essential for banks to know which ones they should be focusing on, and how to engage their customers effectively.

By using robust consumer data, you can identify your audiences’ social media habits, motivations and attitudes, and form a strategy to fit.

Who’s doing it well: Chase

According to the Shorty Awards, which dubbed Chase a 2018 finalist in the Financial Services category, the bank has “deployed a multi-layered social strategy to help consumers of varying backgrounds and financial situations make the most of their finances.”

Chase has a relationship with 50% of U.S. households. This impressive number inspired the bank to roll out a diverse strategy, aiming to engage every consumer across social media with a message that’s tailored to them. The overarching theme is to help the consumer “make more of what’s yours.”

Getting to know their consumers and keeping them front of mind has paid off: Chase has the most “likes” of all U.S. banks across all social channels.

40% of online banking users rely on consumer reviews to research brands, products or services.

Consumers value authenticity more than ever, giving retail banks an opportunity to get ahead of competitors by connecting with them in a ‘real’ way.

And with 40% of online banking users relying on the opinion and experience of other consumers to make decisions, banks need a focus on not only encouraging reviews from current customers, but looking to them for guidance on how to evolve.

After all, developments made with customers’ encouragement are guaranteed to be a welcome addition to your product offering.

Who’s doing it well: First Direct

First Direct is a bank that truly resonates with consumers.

This year, review site Which? named it the highest-rated bank in the UK, based on a survey of the consumers themselves and reviews of popular brands.

Despite this success, the bank has moved its brand message away from having ‘great customer service,’ to position itself as a ‘modern bank.’

Zoe Burns-Shore, First Direct’s Head of Brand and Marketing, told Marketing Week, “We’ve asked our customers if they’d prefer First Direct to be digital only and there’s actually resistance because around mortgages and complex banking issues people like to be reassured that there’s a human on the other end of the phone waiting to help them.”

It’s a great example of a retail bank continuously checking in with their core consumer base as opposed to blindly following trends, and, as a result, generating positive feeling among their target audience.

41% of online banking users carried out a mobile payment last month.

Mobile payments is a hotly anticipated trend that’s had a slower than expected uptake in the West.

However, it’s a different story in other parts of the world. In China, mobile payment rates soared 38% in the first ten months of 2017, and it’s only set to increase in adoption.

Across the 42 regions we cover, 41% of online banking users carried out mobile payments in the past month, making this a service retail banks need to offer their customers, regardless of location.

And with adoption rates finally growing across the Western world, it’s time for banks get ahead of competitors, and ensure consumers have the ability to use this payment method when their local community starts incorporating it fully.

Who’s doing it well: AliPay

Online and mobile payment provider, AliPay, boasts 520m users globally and is China’s most popular mobile payment system.

It allows its users to pay by scanning a QR code in store, something nearly all shopping malls in China accepts, connects with Airbnb and Uber, and even provides other services fulfilling its customers’ everyday needs like booking medical appointments and paying for utilities and traffic tickets.

Its success proves the power of providing the consumer with a comprehensive offering of services, integrating with their everyday lives and becoming their go-to resource for all financial needs.

The online world is changing dramatically, and even centuries-old sectors need to secure their place in it.

With the wealth of deep consumer data now available, organizations can get a true picture of the modern banking customer and what they expect from financial services.

Handy apps, user-friendly online banking environments and reactive social media communications will continue to grow in popularity, and any bank wishing to compete will need to listen to what their core audience is asking of them.

Only then can they offer a consistent, fresh and effective consumer-centric experience.


Written by

Stephen Pendrell is VP of Corporate Sales at GlobalWebIndex. Having spent several years supporting ad agencies on how to make better use of data, Stephen now dedicates his time to helping global corporates plan world-class, data-led digital strategies.

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