Friday, 11 August 2017 12:24

Aussie bank customers shun ‘human’ approach in favour of digital services

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Australian bank customers would prefer to resolve their basic banking issues without having to deal with a human being, according to a new survey which indicates that most prefer contact with their bank via its website.

The Avaya-commissioned survey by YouGov also found that a third — or 34% — of Aussie banking customers regularly use mobile banking apps, more than their counterparts in the UK and the UAE.  

The survey covered more than 5000 banking customers in four countries — Australia, India, the UK and the UAE — and reveals that, given the choice of only one channel, 28% of the 1153 Australians surveyed would prefer access to a complete list of services via their bank’s website, and only speaking to a person if they really have to.

And 19% said they would prefer to use a mobile app, while 8% would choose to access services through the contact centre application.  

More than half, 54%, of Aussies regularly use online banking, behind only the UK’s 60%, while only 36% usually visit their branch, the joint-lowest with the UK.

According to Avaya, unsurprisingly, younger generations of Australians are more likely to use mobile services, with 58% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 53% of 25- to 34-year-olds regularly using mobile apps, compared to just 13% in the 55+ category. And, 57% in the latter group use online banking, while just 45% of 18-24-year olds do.

The YouGov study found that traditional interactions continue to hold a place in the financial services industry.

In fact, 22% of Australians prefer to visit branches, a figure led by older respondents, with a third of over-55s selecting that option, while more than half — 51% — of Indian respondents said they regularly visit their branch, the highest of the four countries surveyed, and only 13% said they prefer to do so, by far the lowest of the four.

“The financial services industry (FSI) has typically led technology adoption and digital services – in part due to available capital, but primarily because a highly-competitive market creates constant pressure to exceed the expectations of demanding consumers,” said Peter Chidiac, managing director Australia and New Zealand, Avaya.

“Customers see value in more than just rates, meaning banks and other financial organisations must provide an experience that aligns to the daily lives of their consumers. To meet those expectations, they have to optimise traditional transactions while enabling interactions across the latest platforms and introducing innovations such as artificial intelligence.”

The survey found that regardless of how they choose to contact their bank, the most important issues for Australian customers is that they get the same level of experience and service, and that their problem is resolved on the first point of contact.

The most common Australian customer complaint is being kept waiting for a long time on the phone, cited by 21%, and according to Chidiac this may explain why less than a quarter — 23% —, of Australian respondents regularly call a contact centre. 

“Consumers are looking for fast resolutions, and within reason, hope for an answer within the first point of contact,” said Chidiac.

“The problem is that some contact centre agents in financial institutions aren’t prepared to deal with a wide range of inquiries, especially in omni-channel environments. Contact centre agents need to be equipped to deal with inquiries, no matter which platform the consumer is using to make contact, and importantly, the interaction must be able to shift across platforms without forcing the consumer to explain their issue repeatedly.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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