What do you want in a bank?

January 27, 2011, 12:53 AM GMT+0

A YouGov SixthSense report into ‘customer journey’ in the banking sector reveals that traditional incentives such as enhanced customer service and longer opening hours may be wasted on British consumers who now favour monetary incentives and value for money when considering changing their bank provider.

YouGov respondents were asked what new banks would have to offer before they would consider a change of provider.

  • ‘Better value for money’ (50%) and ‘[lower] bank charges’ (49%) were the foremost considerations for respondents
  • Leaving ‘customer services’ (42%) trailing in third.

Furthermore, ‘longer or more convenient bank opening hours’ ranked lowly in reasons to change bank providers, with only 29% of consumers valuing this incentive over the others.

Though customer service is not the most important factor for consumers when considering a change of provider, it does seem to have increased in relevancy, with 46% of consumers saying that it has become more important to them over the past two years. More telling, however, is the increased popularity of online banking (60%) over the same period. In this sense, prevailing trends may not be kind to banks orientated around a more congenial or accessible in-branch experience.

Todd Davis, Financial Services Consulting Director at YouGov, commented on the findings, saying, 'Our research shows that retail banking customers appreciate good customer service, but it isn’t just when visiting a branch that this is expected. Consumers want good telephone banking services and websites that make it easy to manage their finances.'

He continued, 'For MetroBank, the prospect of great service in branch along with other features such as longer opening hours and the “Magic Money Machine” has worked in attracting customers in their first few months. However, the fact remains, most consumers are rate and fee sensitive and it is these things that continue to drive the selection of providers.'

See more on the YouGov SixthSense 'Banking Customer Journey' report here