Are UK banks too innovative?

What are your thoughts?

A detailed new multi-industry survey has highlighted the critical difference opening up between customer expectations and business priorities in the banking industry, with companies seen as succeeding on innovation but falling far short on customer care and offering basic value.

The findings come from FleishmanHillard Fishburn’s Authenticity Gap report, using a specially selected sample of 1064 ‘engaged consumers’ – UK adults 18-55+ who are politically engaged, actively share news about businesses on social networks, buy shares or already engage with a brand or company.

Whereas most surveys look just at the consumer’s experience, this research measures the gap between expectation and experience by comparing how UK consumers’ think companies should behave with how they actually see, feel and hear a company is behaving in reality, highlighting the problem areas.

Using nine categories validated through research by the likes of the Reputation Institute and McKinsey, consumers were asked to rate companies on whether they’re doing right, communicating credibly, offering value, innovating and taking care of their employees (full category list copied below).

Expectations of innovation for the banking industry were almost five times lower than those of customer care, suggesting that, though banking is increasingly done online, people still have high expectations of their banks in this area. Customer care was actually the highest expectation for the industry, comprising over one-third of expectations.

But banks are not meeting these expectations. In fact, Banking has the largest gap of any industry studied; no company exceeds customer expectations. People feel that banks are paying too little attention to caring for their customers while they’re seen to be delivering far more on innovation than expected, an area for which most people had lower expectation of the industry.

As banks continue to innovate, customers move increasingly to digital platforms, and disrupting start-ups like online-only banks Monzo and Atom put pressure on the industry, this issue is only likely to get more critical. Businesses must start to think about a strategy to effectively communicate why their programmes of innovation are necessary to keep up with the competition, but which clearly explain why they’ll also lead to better experiences for customers.

Respondents were asked to use nine common points of comparison:

  1. Doing right – are the brand’s motives above board?
  2. Consistent performance – is the business commercially successful?
  3. Credible communications – how relevant and frequent are communications from the brand?
  4. Better value – are the products or services good value for money?
  5. Customer care – does the brand look after its customers, users etc? 
  6. Innovation – does the company stay relevant and look ahead of the market?
  7. Employee care – does the company look after its staff? 
  8. Community impact – does the company give back to those who depend on it?
  9. Care of environment – how environmentally friendly is the company?

To request a copy of the full report, which includes industry data as well as the full list of companies surveyed please email authenticitygap@fhflondon.co.uk

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