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Published on 13th November 2015

SMP Insights V: The mind of a current account switcher

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What goes on in the mind of a current account switcher? Using our Smart Money People reviews, in this post we can take a look at the top four things consumers think about before making the leap.

Process

The launch of the Current Account Switching Service, and the increased promotion of it, has convinced many that switching current accounts providers can be fairly simple. The unanimous experience of our reviewers is that this is indeed true.

Joining bonus

With joining bonuses as high as £150 being offered for switching current accounts, many reviewers have undoubtedly been influenced by joining or switching bonuses. However, surprisingly few of our reviewers see these bonuses as a primary source of motivation. They simply provide the icing on the cake.

Being better

While process is important, and a joining bonus can provide the final push, the lesson of the last few years is that convincing consumers that the process is easy, isn’t enough. Convincing consumers that switching banks will lead them to a better bank is key.

So what does being better mean? While the vast majority of our reviewers focus on customer service and communication, factors like product features, the functionality of digital channels, and the ethical threads of organisations are also cited.

Loyalty

A number of our reviewers talk about moments when their loyalty is ‘topped-up or down’ around key moments of truth. When you need your bank most, you expect it perform e.g. around fraud handling. If a bank is able to perform during these moments it can hold-on to most customers tempted to switch. Equally, one bad experience could provide a trigger for a better alternative.

Summary

Our reviews demonstrate that current account switchers are the happiest group of consumers (with a 94% overall customer satisfaction rating). It is likely that this happiness rating is a mixture of:

  1. Ditching an unloved provider
  2. Genuine delight at finding a better provider, and
  3. Relief that the switching process was as simple and straightforward as expected

Ultimately, switching is a journey. Consumers want to feel that the process is going to work and not going to be the cause of prolonged frustration. But in an industry that is still seen as unattractive to engage with, demonstrating real value to consumers (by being better) remains the foundation.

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Missed last week’s post? We took a look at the DNA of a banking customer.

Unhappy with your own bank? See our public complaints on companies like Bank of ScotlandRBS, and Tesco Bank here.

About Smart Money People Insights

We have a unique pulse on the financial services industry. Our customer insight spans a cross-section of financial organisations and includes quantitative and qualitative performance and regulatory insight at scale. Smart Money People Insights is a new series designed to give back this insight in bite-sized chunks.

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