UK retail banking sector needs to adapt to the evolution of the consumer

13th May 2015

Research from the Grass Roots Group in March suggested that customer satisfaction levels were on the rise in the retail banking sector, with only 12% of people now looking to switch from their current bank, half of the figure from the same survey in 2012 (24%).

As a result, four of the five major banks in the UK are now including detailed customer satisfaction information in their annual reports for the first time, which is a huge shift in philosophy.

However, the sector still faces many challenges, according to leading marketing chief, Tim Taylor, the CMO of eg solutions.

Citing KPMG’s latest report into the sector, which states that digital disruption means banks are struggling to keep up with the pace of consumer expectation, Taylor believes that the UK’s major retail banks are still yet to hone in on customer experience effectively, failing to acknowledge the rise of challenger banks and alternative payment methods as drivers of change.

“With the overwhelming majority of banks now reporting on customer satisfaction for the first time, retail banks are clearly making investments to improve customer experience, especially in the back office,” he states. “But the KPMG report also makes clear that work still needs to be done to marry the promise of excellent customer service with the reality.

“It is clear that technology is transforming the way consumers interact with banks and as the relationship we have with money evolves still further, banks themselves need to be able to address this head-on. It is our contention that the UK retail banking sector needs to adapt to the evolution of the consumer, and that means being able to address and execute any and all requirements.  This means a fundamental rethink in the traditional roles of front and back offices.

"The only way to improve the customer experience and stop customers from walking in the first place is to improve not only the front office customer experience but the back office as well.  The KPMG Report notes that the banks are still predominantly organised through product and channel silos and therefore the customer experience as a result is still somewhat unfulfilled. This is where the functions of the front and indeed the back office need to transformed so that the banks can deliver seamless service no matter what the customer issue.”

One major stumbling block to achieving this may well lie with those at the very top of the banking hierarchy. 70% of financial sector boards don’t prioritise customer experience, according to a recent study from Collinson Group.

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