Technology / Consumers want digital interaction with their banks, says study

Consumers want digital interaction with their banks, says study

Consumers increasingly want to interact with their banks online, according to research by Fujitsu.

According to the survey, more than a third (37 per cent) would threaten to leave their provider if they don’t offer up-to-date technology.

Consumers were also showing they were open to innovative services to make their lives easier, with 32 per cent already embracing mobile device payments, while 22 per cent have adopted wearable technologies and 20 per cent crypto-currencies.

Francois Fleutiaux, senior vice president and head of Sales of EMEIA at Fujitsu, said: “Today’s customers are no longer guarded. When it makes interaction more convenient they are willing to embrace innovation.

“They may not know where they need it until it is offered, but this is where technology comes to the fore – it is the engine that is driving consumer expectations forward and the financial services sector has to live up to this new pace of change.”

This progressive consumer attitude has also led to a shift in expectations from financial service providers and a willingness to buy more services from them; offering a wealth of opportunity to current providers.

One in three said they would consider buying energy for their home; the same figure agreed on personal data storage, while 30 per cent said they would purchase broadband services from their bank.

Yet with this progressiveness comes a warning bell to traditional providers. Already a fifth of respondents said they would buy banking services from potential disrupters like Google, Amazon or Facebook.

This digitally open attitude also extends to day-to-day interaction with banks. Online banking is the most popular channel across Europe, with three in four using it at least once a week.

Yet, while traditional channels are declining in comparison, they still represent a huge swath of consumers; 34 per cent visit their bank branch at least weekly, while an even higher 36 per cent use the telephone to speak with their banking provider.

“While there is no doubt we are moving towards a digital world, this shouldn’t and doesn’t mean that traditional channels are ‘dead’,” said Fleutiaux. “For consumers, digital simply means a new way to communicate whether that be their bank, insurer or their favourite retailer – in whatever way suits them.

“Traditional methods and face-to-face interaction still have a place in modern-day banking. Providers that will be successful will be the ones who modernise their back office to integrate these various channels to create ‘banks of the future’ that provide their customers with all options.”

Consumer attitudes to innovation have also impacted data sharing. Across Europe, 97 per cent of those surveyed said they were happy for banks to use their data to offer them a wider range of services; a huge shift in consumer mindset.

“The Financial Services sector must continue to build on its digital success and commit to on-going innovation. To be successful – and stand up to increased competition – it must invest in modernizing its own infrastructure and participate in industry-wide collaboration to drive innovation,” said Fleutiaux.

“Working with the industry and suppliers, banks can ensure new channels, services and technologies see mass adoption. Ultimately, consumers want evolution; the modern-day Financial Services sector must come together to boldly embrace this, or risk being forgotten.”

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