Consumers Still Lack Trust in Banks

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Customer Experience
Customer Experience
A recent study reveals the factors that influence consumer trust and what banks can do to strengthen their bond with customers.

Trust is the keystone of any solid long-term relationship. However, only 57 percent of consumers trust their banks overall, according to the study "The Role of Trust in Consumer Relationships," conducted by ESCP Europe Business School for Pitney Bowes Business Insight.

The survey polled more than 2,000 consumers from the U.S. and U.K. to assess the public's trust in service-rich banking organizations. The results demonstrate that customer-centric communications across multiple channels can build and strengthen the level of trust between banks and consumers.

  • Frontline employees, self-service technologies, and marketing communications have the greatest influence on a customer's trust, followed by the service provider's management policies and practices, and the customers' previous experiences.
  • In the U.S., frontline employee interactions impact 25 percent of customers' overall trust, with 41 percent of all respondents saying they agree or strongly agree that employees will respond caringly when customers share their problems.
  • Sixty-four percent of respondents trust self-service technologies, such as ATMs, e-commerce, and online banking accounts.
  • Slightly less than half (49.4 percent) of respondents trust communications received from their bank. This is cause for concern because consumer trust in such correspondence determines up to 23 percent of their overall trust in their bank.
  • Consumers appreciate customer-centric policies that emphasize ethics and transparency and aim to solve problems as they arise. However, only 32 percent of respondents believe their bank is doing a good job implementing policies that serve their best interests.
  • Fifty-three percent of those polled claimed they were satisfied with their direct and indirect bank experiences.

Respondents suggested that banks focus on personal interactions that demonstrate transparency, empathy, and credibility. Additionally, customers recommended that banks improve their outbound communications, including proactive contact that provides information on such areas as potential problems (like an overdraft alert) or deals like special mortgage rates.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Consumers look for customer care that gives the sense they are being looked after by their bank, as well as demonstrating high levels of competency and conduct from bank employees. By expediently addressing customers concerns and improving such areas as training employees on empathy and ensuring that they have the information required to respond to customers' queries; offering transparent and proactive communications; and improving the relevancy of their marketing, banks can begin to strengthen current relationships and rebuild trust, as well as improve their reputation with potential future customers.

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EXPERT OPINION