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Published on 30th October 2015

SMP Insights IV: The DNA of a banking customer

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In the financial arena, turning customers into real brand advocates has always been a challenge. How to encourage consumers to engage and ultimately love a financial brand has challenged many marketing professionals. In this short post we look at what our ‘neutral’ reviewers are saying and how these can be turned into promoters.

With a focus on banking, and in particular current accounts (where promoters outnumber neutrals 2:1), here’s our summary of the DNA of a neutral and a promoter.

The DNA of a promoter

What really stands out among our current account reviewers is how increasingly savvy they are, with one reviewer making the distinction between perks, freebies or rewards.

Promoters help to spread the word about their banks, but they are certainly not blind to faults with their providers. Clear and open communication and an “always willing to help” approach can significantly minimise the impact of faults. In the words of one promoter: “I rarely had any problems, and when I did I got through to a person instantly who knows what they are talking about and resolved my issues in minutes.”

The overall value for money rating is 4.69 / 5 and overall customer service rating is 4.75 / 5. At first, these ratings appear overwhelmingly high, but the qualitative review that accompanies them offers a bit more comfort. Fundamentally, getting the basics right and having a level of authenticity that prevails across multiple touch points delivers exceptional customer satisfaction.

The DNA of a neutral

Neutrals are a little different. This group isn’t actively promoting their banks, but are content with the service being provided. For this group of reviewers, not having “any issues or trouble,” customer service being “friendly” are common themes, and the general sentiment runs along the lines of “this one (bank) is ok/good most of the time”. That said, we have picked-up a particular source of frustration from this group: “erratically applying their own rules” or a general level of inconsistency may have the effect of eroding the authenticity picked-up by the promoters.

The overall value for money rating is 3.96 / 5 and overall customer service rating is a respectable 4.32 / 5.

Our prediction: Driven by record levels of innovation spend, and a raft of new challenger banks, customer expectations of their financial services providers (across both groups) will increase over the next few years. Many of the challenger banks will be focused on winning the hearts and minds of consumers, and a number of incumbents will find it hard to keep up.

Next week

We’ll look into the mind of a current account switcher. To what extent are they pushed away from their bank or attracted by a shinier option, and how happy are they once they’ve switched?

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Missed last week’s post?We published a head-to-head analysis of Santander and Halifax across their current account and credit card products.

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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