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Current Account Customers are Saying “Meh”

3 minute read

Customers’ everyday banking experiences in the UK can be summarised as not bad – and not particularly good, either. 

Ian Davis, Director, CX, Ipsos

Looking at the findings of the recent UK CX Report by Ipsos and Engage Business Media (which looked at seven industries overall):

  • Negative current account experiences are a third lower than the norm at just 10%
  • Only a quarter of experiences are seen positively, compared to over 40% overall
  • Two thirds (66%) of customers describe their current account experience as ‘Nothing notable’, much more than the overall average of 47%.

So what can banks do to elevate current account experience and move the dial from ‘nothing notable’ to something noteworthy?

Looking at current account performance through the lens of Ipsos’ Forces of Customer Experience, banks deliver well on hygiene factors, such as Certainty and Control. And – reassuringly for an industry which ten years ago was mired in reputational issues such as its role in the credit crunch and the mis-selling of products like PPI – banks are in line with the norm for the third hygiene factor of Fair Treatment.

When asked, the top response for rating experiences well was ‘ease of use’, with digital banking playing a clear role. But although online banking gives consumers easy control of most of their everyday banking, it’s mostly functional and delivers nothing beyond efficient competence.

If we look at the current account experience in terms of the differentiating Forces of CX that drive higher engagement and brand affinity, we see a different picture. Much can be learned from how the newer fintech banks have succeeded. Without a physical branch with face-to-face interaction to anchor brand affinity, these new banks have built seamless omnichannel customer journeys and creatively elevated the few physical touchpoints they have, in order to stand out from traditional competitors.

For example, when one of my teenage children lost their bank card, Starling’s performance was exemplary. We used the app to block the lost card and order another, which arrived within days. The presentation was memorable, with the bank card in a distinctive envelope, slotted into the type of high-quality card usually used for special occasions. The messaging was super-simple and written in an authentically conversational tone. Removing the bank card from the packaging revealed three simple steps for activation – easy!

The whole experience said: “This is a brand that knows me, hears me and values me”. The presentation of the card delivered on Status, the tone of the communications supported the sense of Belonging, and the simple ‘It happens’ comment created a little moment of Enjoyment from an experience that most banks deliver in a uniformly humdrum way.

Three things that banks can be doing right now:

To find out more, please reach out to Ian directly:

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