UK consumers are not convinced by social media’s effectiveness for financial service (FS) customer service, with just 3.1 per cent using Facebook and 1.2 per cent using Twitter to interact with their FS provider, according to new research released today by [24]7, the intuitive customer experience company.

 The survey of 2,002 consumers conducted by Leadership Factor on behalf of [24]7, found that consumer are increasingly using a variety of channels to communicate with their FS providers, with 93 per cent of people regularly using more than one channel to do so. But more than half of consumers (55 per cent) would rather resolve issues with their FS provider in private rather than complain about bad customer service via social media.

 Whilst social media use for FS customer service rises among 25-34 year olds (7.6 per cent use Facebook and 3.5 per cent use Twitter) the most popular methods of interacting with banks and other FS institutions remain in-person and over the phone. 16 per cent of consumers regularly use their mobile, with that figure rising to more than a third amongst 18-24 year olds, suggesting that smart phones are becoming a significant customer service channel.

 “Whether it is the nature of the conversation or the effectiveness of social media to resolve issues, it is clear that UK consumers would much rather interact with banks and other FS providers in private,” said Mike Hughes, European MD at [24]7. “Since the phone continues to be an important channel and consumers are using smart phones in ever-increasing numbers, FS organisations need to offer solutions that let consumers use their voice and the mobile web at the same time.”

In addition, the research revealed that only 2 per cent of people use their bespoke FS provider’s mobile apps for customer service, despite a number of FS providers offering this as an option. 12 per cent of respondents said that their FS providers do not allow them to interact with the provider using enough different channels. A further 12 per cent admitted they would consider switching financial service provider to one that offered omnichannel customer service.

 The research also revealed the increasing importance of good customer service in FS, with approximately a quarter of UK consumers admitted they had considered swapping banks and insurance providers after bad customer service.

 The most annoying element of Financial Services (FS) customer service amongst 18 to 55 year olds was having to start afresh each point of contact, with FS firms forgetting previous conversations and customer history. Approximately half of all respondents admitted to getting frustrated when financial service providers do not know who they are or why they are engaging customer service, despite having identified themselves and their issue previously via another channel.  45 per cent of consumers expect FS providers to know what they want based on previous contact.

 ”Providing service that mirrors the way that consumers interact today in the phone, mobile apps, web, and social channels, with smartphone and tablet devices is the best way to service customers,” said Mike Hughes, European MD at [24]7. “Irrespective of channel, FS organisations need to make better use of the data they hold on customer to deliver a more intuitive customer service.”


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