News

Differentiation is the key

19 November 2012

New survey results released recently by ICM, the research and insights consultancy, dramatically underlined the lack of trust in Financial Service providers.

From the 2,000 consumers surveyed there are some 'stand out', if depressing, statistics:

The full results can be viewed here

Two brands that stand apart from the tidal wave of negativity are the Co-operative and Nationwide. The survey showed that although 66 per cent of respondents believe that no brand has come out of the financial crisis unscathed, a significant 11 per cent say that Nationwide has come out unharmed and 9 per cent believe that to be true of the Co-operative.

However, despite mistrust and low opinions among consumers - directed towards both the brands they use and the financial services industry as a whole - most people are sitting on their hands and doing nothing about it, says ICM director Steve Ogborn.

The research seems to underline that people cannot be bothered to do anything about their dissatisfaction because they believe all brands are as bad as each other. Ogborn concludes that financial services providers need to do more to differentiate themselves because, despite the high level of distrust of the industry, consumers are not voting with their feet.

Our view:

The report states 'Financial services really need to address loyalty. People need to feel like they are getting better value' and we absolutely agree.

Given the flexibility and scalability of current technology, there is no excuse for Financial Service providers failing to deliver innovative product solutions that help them 'stand out from the crowd' and benefit their customers.

At the moment the perception is that new customers are receiving the good 'introductory' offers at the expense of longstanding customers. True or not, providers need to address this urgently. One approach is, by exploiting the advantages of smart technology, to create clever loyalty programmes that build in benefits for multi-product holdings or reward loyalty and thereby go on to build value into maintaining a longstanding customer relationship with a provider.

Obviously technology is not the only answer. Creating trust will be an uphill battle that has to be driven by integrity from the top and a focus on the customer not on the 'quick buck'. In the end though, the companies who best embrace the advantages of current technology and continue to be one step ahead will be the ones that do 'stand out from the crowd'.

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