Financial services customers shy away from social – study

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It’s not just financial institutions that are shying away from social media. New research has revealed that customers are also reluctant to use social to communicate with their financial providers.

Customer experience company [24]7 surveyed over 2,000 consumers and found that whilst 93% regularly use a variety of channels to communicate with their providers, more than half said they would rather resolve issues with their provider privately than over social media.

Although younger customers, those aged between 25 and 34, were shown to be more keen on communicating with banks and insurers via Facebook and Twitter, the majority of consumers still prefer to pick up the phone to contact financial services (FS) providers. According to the figures, 16% regularly use their mobile, with that figure rising to more than a third amongst 18-24 year olds.

However, consumers may be displaying an appetite for mobile customer service but apps are proving slow to take off with just 2% of those surveyed using their FS provider’s bespoke app, despite many providers offering this channel.

Consumers said they would be more likely to interact with their provider online if they offered more channel choice with 12% saying not enough choice was provided and a further 12% claiming they would consider switching providers to one that offered omnichannel customer service.

The research also examined the state of customer service from FS organisations and found a quarter of consumers admitted they had considered swapping banks and insurance providers after bad customer service.

Half of all respondents said that they get most frustrated when providers do not know who they are or why they are engaging customer service, when financial service providers do not know who they are or why they are engaging customer service despite having identified themselves and their issue previously via another channel.

Mike Hughes, European MD at [24]7, said: ”Providing service that mirrors the way that consumers interact today in the phone, mobile apps, web, and social channels, with smartphone and tablet devices is the best way to service customers.

“Irrespective of channel, FS organisations need to make better use of the data they hold on customer to deliver a more intuitive customer service.”

Ovum recently reported that European banks, fearful of data security issues, are reluctant to sell their products and service over the social channel – missing out on increased sales and better customer service as a result.

The DMA also recently claimed that banks’ marketers are failing to capitalise on financial product cross-selling opportunities with existing customers.

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