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Consumers 'think financial services still need a human touch'

POSTED: 7th April 2014
IN: Personal News
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Despite the recent growth in digital channels, it is important for financial service providers to retain a 'human touch' when dealing with their customers, according to a recent study by BT and Avaya, a provider of business communication systems.

Despite the recent growth in digital channels, it is important for financial service providers to retain a 'human touch' when dealing with their customers, according to a recent study by BT and Avaya, a provider of business communication systems. undefined

In the two years since the companies last conducted similar research, the number of methods people use to contact their banks, building societies and insurers has risen by 44 per cent, from an average of 4.3 in 2012 to 6.2 in 2014.

Technological advances have made a major contribution to this trend, with the proportion of customers communicating through mobile apps increasing from seven per cent to 23 per cent in the past two years.

Use of webchat technology has grown from one per cent to 11 per cent in the same period.

Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of today's consumers would be happy to engage with banks, building societies and insurers via social media and 24 per cent would be prepared to use Twitter, according to the findings.

Despite all these hi-tech developments, customers still appear to appreciate some personal contact with financial service providers.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of participants in the BT and Avaya study said having phone or email communications with a named individual would help them warm to a company.

Tom Regent, president of global banking and financial markets at BT Global Services, said: "The research shows that people have a huge appetite for new technologies that make companies easy to do business with but still want the human touch of traditional service.

"Successful financial services companies will be those that strike the right balance between automation and human interaction - whether that interaction takes place face to face or is delivered over the phone, video or webchat."

In a recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Steve Davies, the professional services firm's UK retail banking leader, said the "real challenge" banks are currently facing is evolving quickly enough to meet consumer expectations.

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