Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Who are the High Street Banks connecting with?

Research commissioned by retail and banking solutions provider Wincor Nixdorf has highlighted a disconnect between consumer preferences and the service being offered by some high street banks.

The study of more than 2,000 consumers looked at attitudes to in-branch technology. It revealed that despite certain technologies such as self-service becoming a staple of branch banking, some customer education is still needed with regards to more innovative services if they are to realise the potential benefits. For example, while the majority of consumers are comfortable using self-service kiosks to take out cash, more than half do not yet feel as comfortable using the machines to pay in. Many consumers also admit they are suspicious of the industry’s intentions in adopting such services. Interestingly, 58% believe that technology innovations such as mobile banking are simply a driver to cut staff numbers and costs, with only 22% believing the aim is to improve service to customers.

Ed Brindley, director of marketing at Wincor Nixdorf, explained: “Technology like cash deposit machines, self-service and mobile can never replace good customer service. Banks know this but the key is to show customers that they are simply tools to improve service. What this study proves is that consumers want to know that whatever technology is being adopted, it is safe and they are using it correctly to ensure it benefits them.

“Consumers want a choice, and if they wish to use self-service, they will. If not, they want to know that staff are on hand to help. Ultimately, they just want good service, and technology can help achieve this but only if the customer feels comfortable using it.”

The study also revealed concern among consumers about the continued boom of mobile banking, with 72% of consumers believing such services to be insecure and unsafe.

Ed added: “When you look at some technology such as the ATM, this has become a retail banking mainstay. Consumers feel comfortable using it and see that it is of benefit. However, the key here is that it was rolled out gradually and consumers were given the right education in how to use it.

“The problem now is that while banks are doing the right thing by innovating to improve service, the speed of technology-adoption has accelerated. If consumers are given the right level of education and help initially, they will soon feel comfortable, see that it is of benefit to them and the concern and distrust this study has identified will no longer be an issue.”

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