The pandemic has reinforced the importance of delivering strong digital experiences
The switch to digital delivery has improved CX scores for banks across the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France
LONDON, Oct. 1, 2021 / PRNewswire / – According to Forrester 2021 European Banking Customer Experience Index (CX Index ™), the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to banking services through digital and hybrid channels – and this change has improved the customer experience (CX) in European banks. Unveiled at CX EMEA, the CX Index reveals that digital channels have dominated the three dimensions of CX quality – efficiency, ease and emotion – through Europe. Forrester’s European Banking CX Index assesses the CX quality of 38 of the UK’s biggest and most important banking brands, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. It is based on a survey of more than 26,000 European adults.
On average, customers rated the quality of their banking experiences as “good” in the UK; ‘OK’ in Germany, Italy, and Spain; and poor in France. On the other side Europe, challengers (alternatives to traditional banks) and mutuals provided better CX than traditional banks and were praised for their strong customer support, digital offerings, or both. Among the challengers: Monzo ranked first Europe and the UK for emphasizing financial well-being; First Direct outperformed all other European banks in the customer service engine category; and ING led Spain for the second year in a row. The average CX quality in France remained “poor” with the exception of Crédit Mutuel, BNP Paribas and Caisse d’Epargne, which significantly improved from 2020 to 2021.
The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital banking, with 17% of French customers accessing their bank accounts on a computer for the first time and 19% of Italians using a mobile banking app for the first time. While customer preferences for using different digital channels varied across countries, overall, banks’ investments in digital experiences have paid off. Highlights of digital experiences include:
- For efficiency, the apps were effective for day-to-day tasks, despite late experiences in Italy, Spain, and France. Seventy-nine percent of UK bank customers and 77% of German bank customers found their bank’s mobile app to be an efficient way to conduct banking transactions, compared to just 62% of Spanish customers, 66% of Italian customers and 55% of French customers. Websites were rated as the most effective way to deal with complex banking needs, but the quality of experiences varied by Europe: 77% of UK bank customers and 79% of German bank customers found their bank’s website to meet their needs, compared to just 61% of French customers, 65% of Italian customers and 65% of Spanish customers.
- For ease of use, mobile apps provided a convenient way to do banking transactions for most customers, except in France, where customers have found mobile websites easier to use due to the limited functionality French banks offer on their mobile banking apps. In contrast, customers in the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany have found mobile apps to be one of the most convenient channels to use for banking.
- For the emotion, the online chat aroused the most positive emotions for European customers. It was used even more during the pandemic, when customers couldn’t get to physical branches. Chatting with a person made it easier to connect people to people at banks such as Banca Mediolanum. In the UK, phone calls have sparked the most positive emotions among bank customers, where banks like First Direct and Monzo are focused on providing excellent service over the phone.
“This year’s CX Index ranking clearly indicates that banks across Europe have successfully leveraged digital channels to better meet the needs of their customers, ”said Oliwia Berdak, vice president and chief research officer of Forrester. “Despite digital improvements, the average CX quality in France remained “poor”. Investments in digital experiences will pay off in the long run. In addition, the three dimensions of CX quality – efficiency, ease and emotion – are not of equal importance. Emotion is the key to differentiation; that’s why delivering customer experiences that evoke positive emotions, better understanding customer needs, solving problems quickly and rewarding customer loyalty should be top priorities for European banks to improve their CX. “
Forrester’s CX Index methodology helps CX leaders grow revenue faster, increase brand preference, and charge more for their products. It helps brands identify the main drivers of positive CX for their customers in order to prioritize efforts. Even a minor improvement in the quality of a brand’s customer experience can generate revenue by reducing customer churn and increasing portfolio share. Additionally, a superior CX leads to lower service costs and lowers the cost of acquiring customers through word of mouth.
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