There can be little denying that the banking industry has gone down in the public’s estimation in recent years. Indeed, the industry is currently struggling desperately to reclaim its customers’ loyalty and the trust of the public, following a period of what can only be described as turmoil. Once considered the most dependable of institutions, the UK’s banks continued to occupy a pedestal in the hearts and minds of the British public until relatively recently; numerous generations thrived under the personal guidance of their bank managers, and it seems as though little can be done to recapture those halcyon days.
So, what went wrong in the first place?
The problem with British banks
The UK banking industry was deeply affected by the financial crisis, as businesses and consumers lost out to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds; this kind of mistrust is difficult to overcome, for independent banks and high street powerhouses alike. The loyalty lost during the recession was the tip of the iceberg for UK banks, which have also suffered from the loss of accessible high street branches, data breaches, and numerous criticisms for their so-called ‘aggressive sales culture’ in recent years. Indeed, while officials have continued to be rewarded with bonuses, the PPI scandal and frequent accusations of misconduct have cost the banks in excess of £53billion. It’s little wonder that consumers are redirecting their trust.
The rise of digital banking
While numerous marketing campaigns and promises to return to basics have done a little to assuage public opinion, nothing has worked for the banking industry quite like its willingness to embrace digital services and current technology. Vastly improved banking websites, enhanced security protocol and convenient apps have joined forces to improve consumers’ experiences, and seem to be doing the trick as far as loyalty is concerned.
This rise in digital services is…
Rebuilding the British banking industry’s relevance
It’s not just the banking industry that has had to fight to remain relevant in a modern era; many businesses have found themselves plunged headlong into a world dominated by technology, and it has been difficult for many to even tread water. The rise in digital banking services proves that UK banks are striving to regain relevance and have begun to understand the demands of a new generation of consumer. From improved web access and mobile phone apps to online chats and viral marketing campaigns, the UK banking industry is finally touching base with its clientele once again.
Improving security in a modern world
Following the financial crisis and the numerous data breaches that have taken place in recent memory, it’s little wonder that so many consumers are nervous and unwilling to trust the UK banking system completely. However, recent changes to digital services have gone a long way towards improving security, including the introductions of smart keys, enhanced encryption and fingerprint technology. While criminals are certainly becoming more savvy, the UK’s banks seem to be one step ahead at last, although work must be ongoing to protect consumers’ interests.
Increasing accessibility to certain services
While consumers were once restricted to scheduled bank manager appointments, many are now able to keep up to date with balances, payments, and certain services with the click of a mouse or the swipe of a finger. Indeed, most banking services boast websites and apps, so consumers will rarely need to visit their local high street branch. This method of banking is quick and convenient, and most importantly, accessible at any time of the day or night. As for PPI, it has never been easier for consumers to raise a claim; with processes such as the online Lloyds PPI reclaim service available, consumers no longer have to jump through hoops to win back what is rightfully theirs.
Improving existing banking models
Since digital services have improved the accessibility of banking, the UK’s financial organizations are far better placed to improve upon existing models; consumer feedback is readily available, and action to rectify problems can occur far more quickly. It would appear that the banks are learning a valuable lesson following the financial crisis.
Introducing banking services to a younger, more diverse audience
The UK banking industry’s ability to embrace the digital era has meant that a younger, more diverse audience is being introduced to the benefits offered by this country’s financial organizations. This younger audience is being encouraged to take responsibility for its money and banking choices, often for the first time. Meanwhile, the recent introduction of banking apps means that even relatively complex transactions can be completed on the go. The younger generation appears to trust technology above all else; a move towards digital services, then, is instilling loyalty in this new generation of banking consumer.
Of course, the increasing number of digital services currently rolling out across the country won’t appease everyone; there will always be traditionalists who will fear that banking has lost its personal touch once and for all. However, it is essential for banks to keep up with the times to ensure the continuation of their services and their security. Indeed, digital services certainly end a lot of the confusion and mistrust when it comes to contacting banks and addressing issues. Above all, digital services have introduced a new relationship between banks and their customers, seemingly enabling these establishments to wipe the slate clean and start again.