In addition to offering online banking transactions to their customers, financial institutions are increasingly providing conversational and communication tools, for example via social networks. The only hitch is that customers aren’t all that keen on the idea.

Banking Customers Somewhat Cautious About Online Services

Are bank customers ready to use a wider variety of technological solutions to communicate with their financial institutions and carry out their banking operations? While a survey this year by management consulting firm Novantas underlined that in the United States 85% of banking customers would now prefer to carry out their transactions online rather than at a branch, another study published in March by UK-based telecoms company BT and Avaya - a business communications solutions company - suggests the opposite. According to the BT/Avaya study, some 64% of bank customers still see the branch as the most reliable place for managing their funds and these customers just aren’t ready for their bank to incorporate social media into its marketing strategies. These findings are in line with results from other sources. A ‘white paper’ on the same topic by comScore reveals that while financial institutions are showing increasing commitment to collaborative sites and customers are now consulting their accounts 30% more often than the previous year, still only 18% of them say they are aware of their bank’s online site.


Concerns over social networks and P2P


As far as the BT/Avaya study is concerned, the trend is demonstrated first and foremost by stated concerns over banks using social networks, with only 5% of consumers regarding social media as an appropriate forum for financial conversations. Similarly, only 3% say they are ready to share information from their Facebook profile with their bank. Moreover, bank customers are not very appreciative of the peer-to-peer principle either, with only 7% of them keen to make use of ‘social lending’ (loans between individuals) mechanisms. A similar low percentage of those surveyed say they would provide online help to other customers about products and services offered by their bank.


Reluctant, but not about everything


However, customers are not against absolutely all new technologies. Some 24% say they have already tried mobile banking, while 28% would be happy to get help from their bank via web-chat, 21% via click to call, 13% through co-browsing and 12% on video-chat. Moreover, these customers would like to see their branches modernised, 32% stating they would like to see branches equipped with high-tech facilities which customers could use. Among the suggestions put forward we find, for example, a self-service kiosk for conducting a range of transactions and a voice-recognition system for telephone calls so that customers can avoid revealing confidential information over a non-secure line.