Many financial services firms find themselves in unprecedented positions today. After decades or even centuries of stability and success, industry incumbents are now confronting rapidly shifting customer expectations.

The cause, of course, is the digital revolution. Financial services customers are also customers of Amazon, Google, Spotify, and other digital leaders. The experiences they can access on these platforms, in many cases, put the digital offerings of the financial service industry to shame. The customer experience gap between digital leaders and financial services providers is a risk for the industry—but it is also an opportunity to find new sources of growth and create stronger bonds with customers.

So, what exactly are financial services customers looking for in 2019? How do demands and “pain points” vary across the globe? What should financial services firms be doing to meet and exceed these changing expectations?

Accenture conducts a biennial global survey to answer these questions with high-quality data. Our Global Financial Services Consumer Study is one of the largest of its kind, and the recently-released 2019 version is our most comprehensive and detailed yet. The study collected data from 47,000 banking and insurance customers from multiple generations and income levels. It covers 28 countries divided into five regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East and Africa.

The headline takeaway? Most of all, today’s customers want integrated products and services that are customized to meet their individual needs. They want the same consumer experience across every delivery channel. They want the whole process to be trustworthy. Most—though not all—are willing to share their data if it means more personalized services.

The study also recommends four ways to use customer data to provide a hyper-relevant, convenient and trustworthy experience.

  1. Offer tailored services in return for customer data. A strong majority of respondents said they would trade personal data for more relevant services. However, some are less willing. Consider offering stronger incentives to encourage customers to share and invest in effective measures to protect the data you’ve got. Make sure you’re telling your customers about these investments.
  2. Anchor trust through all touchpoints. The survey found that customers have a much higher level of trust in their financial services provider to look after their financial well-being—that is, they are less likely to trust non-financial providers to do the same. The industry cannot squander this advantage if it wants to avoid disruption.
  3. Expand business models through ecosystems. Consumer are very interested in integrated products and services – “integrated” in the most expansive sense here. For instance, many respondents reported interest in a hypothetical car-care package that combined insurance, maintenance and advice. However, not all respondents said they would be willing to pay for such a service.
  4. Unite the physical and digital experience. Despite the digital revolution, customers still value face-to-face interaction. Most want to see their banks blend physical and digital experiences. Artificial intelligence and robotic process automation can be very powerful tools here.

These are some of the most exciting high-level takeaways and insights from the study. However, the global stats don’t tell the whole story here—not by a long way. In the digital world, financial services firms need to target customers as precisely as possible.

To that end, the study also breaks down today’s financial services customers into four different personas and provides lots of details—some surprising, some expected, all interesting—for each.

In fact, the data on each persona is too rich to look at all of them in a single blog post. Come back next week for a look at the first persona: the Pioneers.

In the meantime, take a look at the 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study on our website.

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