Resistant to Digital Banking? Consumers have never demanded it more

BT recently conducted some research among consumers from the UK, Spain, Hong Kong, France and Germany into how they see digital banking services, and the results inspired a few headlines that claimed the vast majority of consumers were ‘resistant’ to digital banking.

The research findings did indeed provide some interesting insights and showed that, despite the explosion in popularity and near-ubiquity of Facebook and Twitter, there was a significant lack of interest amongst consumers when it comes to engaging with their banks over social media channels, writes David Webber.

However, these same respondents did include online peer reviews, webchat facilities, and ‘compare-my-bank’ type services as among the best ways for financial organisations to give them information and help them make informed decisions. The research also found that respondents from every single market rated good online banking facilities and 24/7 access as two of the most influential factors when considering moving banks.

These results make the headlines that appeared on the back of this research rather surprising, because – what are all of these services, if not fundamental aspects of digital banking? It seems that the phrase ‘digital banking’ is often perceived as applying only to social media and mobile – a dangerously restrictive view, given today’s increasingly channel-savvy consumer.

To talk about ‘mobile’, ‘social’,or ‘online’ banking is to make unnecessary distinctions within the umbrella term of ‘digital banking’.

If these terms are considered as separate for too long they will ultimately hold banks back from providing the seamless, intuitive, ‘anytime anywhere’ experience that customers demand. Mobile devices are integrated into consumers’ lives and as such consumers rarely talk about ‘digital banking’, or think in terms of ‘innovation’ or ‘digital strategies’; they simply see a gradual transition to greater convenience and ease of use.

Statistics compiled by Intelligent Environments last year confirmed that 51% of Britons saw an effective digital banking service as a key driving factor in loyalty towards their bank, and this figure highlights just how much banks need to focus on ensuring that their digital solutions meet their customers’ increasingly high expectations.

Of course it is not enough to simply roll out a ‘digital’ solution for the sake of it. Banks must work hard to deliver features that customers did not even realise were possible, and which can be accessed via multiple digital channels in line with their digital lives. They need to be able to look into the future and predict, or, even better, define, what their customers will want in the coming years.

In today’s multi-channel age, banks cannot afford to focus all their efforts on a single digital strategy any more than solely on the branch experience – the winners will be those that can see beyond channel-specific efforts and provide a truly integrated offering.

Article published 27th March 2013 in ‘Banking Technology’. Read the original article here.