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Press release

Dortmund / Zurich |

Turning tide: bank branches must become an integral part of the digitalisation strategy

The latest industry report from the consulting and IT service provider adesso, titled “What bank customers want from online banking and what companies offer”, shows a clear preference for a digital customer journey. According to the findings, financial services providers should optimise their online presence and prioritise digital financial business in order to attract customers.

Digital channels offering information and guidance on financial services have never been so popular among consumers. In most cases, those who have already started their customer journey online stay loyal to their chosen channel. Alongside websites themselves, social networks are also becoming increasingly relevant, although banks’ social media presence is in need of improvement.

Customer experience: home page as the primary source of information
For most consumers (53 %), the first port of call for financial information is a bank’s website. Provider websites are actually considered more relevant than search engines (45 %) and comparison websites (30 %). The difference is even more pronounced when it comes to purchasing financial products: Around two-thirds of respondents said that they had purchased or taken out financial products through a bank’s website, whereas only 13 % use comparison websites for this purpose. Only 12 % of respondents stated that they had visited their local branch.

53 percent of respondents prefer to obtain information about financial products directly from the bank's website.

“Our customer experience study reveals a number of interesting trends,” says Boris Bohn, Head of Digital Channels at adesso SE. “At a time when bank branches and financial transactions are becoming increasingly virtual, it is all the more important to offer an optimal, tailored customer experience to remain competitive over the long term.”

Boris Bohn is Head of Digital Channels at adesso SE (Copyright: adesso)

A nuanced view of personalised marketing
Acceptance of advertising on the basis of interests, hobbies and purchase history is twice as high as advertising based on age, marital status and search history. In general, there is significant potential among younger target groups, as this age cohort is more open-minded than older respondents. Pre-filled forms that speed up the buying process were particularly popular among respondents, with 62 % stating a preference for such offerings. When it comes to other forms of promotion and communication, most respondents have a positive view of advertising such as online banners and personalised emails (29 % approval respectively).

The study results clearly show that personalization must not become "too personal.

When it comes to personalization, online banners and e-mails from the provider are most likely to stand out (29 percent each).

Customers like forms pre-filled with their personal data, e.g. in application sections.

Online meets offline: omnichannel not the way to go for bank customers
Three-quarters of customers make a clear choice on their customer journey: either fully online (45 %) or completely offline (30 %). Only one in four bank customers structure their customer journey as a mixture of online and offline. Twice as many men as women do their banking online, which is why in-branch communication should be tailored to female target groups.

“The Digital First strategy will continue to define the future of banking,” says Ingo Gregus, Managing Director of the adesso subsidiary adesso experience GmbH. “Customers who are already immersed in the digital channel will no longer visit their local branch. The key factor here will be transforming the branch into an integral part of the entire digitalisation strategy. In other words, branches need to become more digital.”

Surprisingly, only one in four respondents mixes online and offline within the customer journey.

Social commerce: utilising digital opportunities correctly

Financial services providers can make use of social networks as an information channel and leverage their increasing importance as part of the customer journey. Being bold here can pay off, as many competitors do not have much of a social media presence. YouTube is a particularly vast source of untapped potential, with only 44 % of companies using it as a marketing channel, even though 88 % of customers watch content on the website.

Customers' social media use often does not match the social media presence of the companies surveyed. There is still significant potential here.

About the study
The adesso study takes a closer look at the impact of the last few months on e-commerce in the individual sectors as well as on the attitudes and behaviour of consumers. A representative sample of 1,000 online customers in Germany were surveyed on their shopping behaviour and 373 companies on their customer experience management activities.

The “What bank customers want from online banking and what companies offer” study is available online at: adesso.de/cx-studie-banking.

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