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What Do Customers Want Most From Their Financial Institutions? We Asked Them

We asked thousands of consumers around the globe what they wanted from their financial services institutions. Their response? Personalised care and simple digital services.

Wouldn’t it be great if your financial institution knew what you needed — before you needed it? One of the biggest financial services trends we’ve seen recently is that people want  a steady hand to guide them in money matters. According to our latest study, while 73% of consumers surveyed said they expect their financial institution to anticipate their needs, only 37% said theirs do.

We asked over 6,000 financial consumers worldwide about their expectations, experiences, and desires to better understand what people want from their financial institutions and how they expect to interact with them. With the cost of living increasing, interest rates rising, and a turbulent world around them, what people want most right now is stability from their financial institution.

Dig in to the future of financial services

We surveyed over 6,000 financial services customers from around the world to find out what they want from financial institutions today. Here’s how you can start meeting customer expectations.

That desire for security extends into customers’ financial data, especially as AI becomes more widely used. To succeed with AI and other emerging technologies, you should ensure that you’re doing what you can to protect customers’ data. 

One way you can do this? Making sure your customers’ data is secure and all in one place. This helps your team have instant access to the information they need, right when they need it, allowing them to deliver the personalised service customers want.

Want to learn more? Our research provides insight into today’s financial services trends, answering a host of questions, including:

  • How (and on what channels) people want to interact with their financial institution
  • What they seek from financial services providers
  • Sharing how financial institutions use customer data

Here’s how financial services institutions can meet customer expectations and build trust.

Make it effortless to manage everyday finances digitally

Customers seem to separate their financial lives into two buckets: everyday management and long-term financial planning. When it comes to the former, customers desire simple, do-it-yourself digital services. They want to manage their financial lives online, especially when it comes to routine tasks like applying for a credit card, opening a new account, checking on investments, or renewing or changing an insurance policy. 

Helping them do this quickly and easily is not just a perk, it’s a necessity. Not doing so can come at a huge cost. In the past year alone, 25% of customers told us that they switched banks, and over a third switched their insurers and wealth managers. Across all three of these financial sectors, the top reason customers said they considered switching was a desire for a better digital experience

What do they mean by a better digital experience? Whether it’s reaching out about opening an account or requesting help with their current services, they want a hassle-free and intuitive way to navigate your platform. 

You can meet this expectation by offering self-service tools powered by automation, allowing customers to accomplish basic tasks on their phone, tablet, or computer. With AI helping consumers with basic information, and automation handling tedious, low-level tasks, your service agents can focus more on providing personal attention to customers who have complex requests. 

The end result: increased business, a rise in customer loyalty, and more efficient and productive business operation.

Show your customers you care

Despite — or perhaps in reaction to — an increasingly digital world, financial services trends show that customers do still desire human, often face-to-face, interaction when solving problems. While it’s true that they want to accomplish everyday financial tasks digitally, a majority of consumers across a number of sectors told us they preferred in-person customer service over digital when it comes to more complex issues, such as questions about errors on their statements. 

You can meet consumer expectations by having digital services complement in-person interactions. We’ve found that relying too much on your digital offerings can make it hard for you to differentiate yourself from other financial institutions, gain loyalty, and provide the personalised services customers want. 

The bottom line: customers want to feel that you’ll be there for them when they need you, whether it’s a simple check deposit or a complicated issue to untangle. 

The digital/human divide requires a delicate balance that can be difficult for financial institutions to achieve. Personalisation can be challenging to scale, but with the right tools and technology, it is more than possible. 

Harnessing data and coupling it with machine learning and AI can make a significant difference in your ability to provide personalised service — in a branch or on a device. For example, you can use AI to analyse customer data, helping you segment that information and make it easier to better understand your customers. They then can use that information to provide personalised product recommendations and offers. 

Ultimately, institutions that merge this type of empathetic, individually tailored service with a great digital experience will stay ahead of financial services trends and gain a strong competitive edge.

Protect personal data to build trust

Data is the engine behind personalised interactions, proactive communications, and better connections with your customers. But when it comes to data, trust is essential. 

The majority of customers say they have full trust in their providers. However, less than half clearly understand how their data is used and protected. More importantly, 78% would switch financial service providers if they felt their data was mishandled.

The solution may be better communication around how data is used. Customers are willing to share data with their institutions if it improves service and offerings. In our report, 55% said they are satisfied with how financial institutions use their data to provide relevant services — up from 45% in 2022.

Consumers want financial institutions to treat their data with care. Once they’re assured, many are willing to share information — as long as terms remain transparent. You should provide clear parameters around data security and how consumer data is being used.

Consumer expectations that financial services be easy and accessible 24/7 are converging with a desire to return to a more traditional, human-centric model. It’s not about one channel dominating the other. Instead, both digital and in-person experiences should work together to make sure customers can get the level of care they need, when they need it. 

While it can be challenging to balance both, it is necessary and worthwhile. Providing this level of service — on your customer’s preferred channels — can lead the way to increased trust, loyalty, and growth.

What do your customers want most?

We asked thousands of customers what they expect from their financial institutions and what is most important to them. Our latest report can help you take your company to the next level.

Eran Agrios
Erin Agrios GM and SVP, Financial Services

Eran leads Salesforce's Go-To-Market Team for banking, wealth, institutional banking and regulatory and compliance organisations, and industry product - Financial Services Cloud. She works with wealth management, insurance, and banking firms to help them address industry challenges and trends, focusing on client-facing initiatives, mid- and back-office consolidation, and productivity using technology as an enabler.

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