In this edition of our CX survey, the Financial Services sector includes banks, insurance companies, building societies, loan providers, and payment service providers. As a whole, the financial sector is slightly below the market average, with no significant changes in totals compared to 2020.
The sector’s future will be affected by the brand consolidations we saw happen in 2021, notably the purchase of Equa bank by Raiffeisenbank as well as Raiffeisenbank taking private banking clients over from ING Bank. Talks between MONETA Money Bank and Air Bank reopened as well. All these changes have customers worried, and although their worries are not yet obvious in the results from 2021, they will be visible in the following year at the latest.
Banks that are now used to being at the top of the ladder achieved CX pillar scores similar to those of 2020, while building societies are taking the “prize” for the worst-rated subsector despite achieving significant year-on-year improvement in all pillars. Pillar rating remained unchanged for insurance companies; their final ranking, however, was stirred up by ČSOB Pojišťovna who took the number one spot in this subsector.
AirBank continues to evolve along the principles that once helped them attract their first customers and score their first wins in customer experience rankings, maintaining their image of a modern bank with minimal fees who values honest approach and has a great, all-powerful app. In the past two years, the company introduced new investment tools to mobile banking and implemented a Portu service into the My Air app, with plans to allow clients to set up their Portu at every office and, of course, in their online internet banking. Air Bank’s clients can also choose to invest in Zonky Rentiér or choose from several mutual funds. Lately, the bank has also implemented their own Banking Identity.
The banks that came in second and third – Fio banka and Equa bank – share many of the sector leader’s features. Fio banka introduced cash deposit machines, while Equa bank launched a new app to allow clients to postpone their loan payments and introduced instant payments into their mobile app in 2020 already. Furthermore, Equa bank joined the ranks of those offering their clients an option to invest in funds with a heavy focus on sustainability, with no entry fees for a limited time, and cancelled fees for ATM withdrawals abroad.
Česká spořitelna proved that its jump through the ranks in 2020 and its victory in the unofficial “big traditional banks” category was no coincidence, but in 2021, it’s challenged by MONETA Money Bank with its mascot cat and improvements in the personalization, expectations, integrity, and resolution pillars to back up the challenge thrown to the giant. In 2021, MONETA also launched its own foundation to support clients who fell on hard times, unable to pay their debts to the bank and forced to file for bankruptcy. Clients using MONETA’s app can now also choose to support up to seven NGOs like Borůvka charitable society, John N. Neumann’s hospice in Prachatice or the Czech Union for Nature Conservation.
Poštovní spořitelna is unique because of its clearly defined target group, and while the company does have a well-made, easy to navigate internet banking, they also allow clients to take care of everything in person. Their branch offices can be found in almost every city in the country, with helpful staff ready to attend to clients. They even have a special account, “Poštovní účet”, that allows clients over 58 years of age to have cash delivered to them free of charge once a month. The company used the pandemic as an opportunity to create a “Pick up your pension with a smile” initiative to help their older clients deal with fears associated with personal visits to the bank’s offices, helping them set up their internet banking and teaching them to use mobile banking, internet banking or credit and debit cards. They also created a free phone line that automatically detects clients over 70 and forwards their calls to employees with special training.
ČSOB also moved up the ranks (taking 6th place), with a score improvement in most of the pillars, especially in personalization and time and effort. The bank launched a new mobile app that allows clients to manage all their financial products, with a promise of a virtual assistant, Kate, becoming available in the future. Among other new features, there is ČSOB Drobné, an investment tool that rounds up payments made with debit cards and transfers this “small change” into the bank’s fund ČSOB Bohatství. And for businesses, the bank promises to create a feature that will allow them to accept card payments with their smartphones, without needing to purchase a payment terminal.
Air Bank: “I submitted my request online and everything went well. We didn’t get approved for a loan, but at least we were told why, which I appreciated. I like that they were honest with us.” (Woman, 38)
Fio bank: “My account is free, and I am very happy that the bank finally introduced their own cash deposit machines, they were needed for sure and the bank earned a lot of my approval for that. They also increased the number of free withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs to compensate for the fact that there aren’t many Fio ATMs around.” (Woman, 44)
MONETA Money Bank: “Everything is always in order, the bank’s staff would always work quickly and efficiently, without delays, and they were always very kind and polite to me, their customer.” (Man, 52)
Poštovní spořitelna: “My husband passed away, so I needed to cancel his card – that was done very quickly. Then I had to have the direct debit transferred, so we cancelled the old one and created a new direct debit under my name. The entire process was very quick as well. The employee who was attending to me was very forthcoming and friendly and had it all done in an instant. I am generally very happy with their services. I can call them and get help over the phone whenever I need. Like this one time, I needed to connect my bank account to my PayPal account, and we managed to do it over the phone.” (Woman, 56)
ČSOB: “I decided to use their new ČSOB Drobné service. The staff explained everything clearly and I am happy with the service.” (Man, 70)
Komerční banka: “I was discussing my issue with my regular consultant. There was a problem with accessing my account in the app – it would crash every time I made a payment. Reinstalling the app and getting new codes from an ATM helped resolve the issue in a matter of minutes.” (Man, 29)
Česká spořitelna: “I think both their mobile apps (George and George key) are very good, and I also like their quick and reliable payments even when I need to send money abroad.” (Man, 74)
Kooperativa pojišťovna: “I submitted an online request to recalculate my home insurance and I was later contacted by a consultant who offered several options for me to choose from.” (Woman, 38)
Equa bank: “I never had any problems with them. Everything can be sorted out quickly and easily, and many things can be done online, which I appreciate a lot since I don’t live in a city.” (Woman, 38)
Efficient digitalization requires efficient people
To drastically improve customers’ digital experience, financial institutions need to learn to identify the right moment to introduce a human staff member into the process, to help the client deal with a small hurdle or resolve an error in the system. Small technical issues don’t put customers off as long as they are dealt with quickly, resulting in a positive experience for the customers.
Clear, well-made apps lead to success
More and more customers look at the quality of the mobile app when choosing a bank. No wonder, people are now used to taking care of things in a couple of taps, even when they need to send large sums of money, ask for a loan or sign up for new banking products. Apps must be quick, intuitive, and trustworthy.
Digital environment in the customer journey
Using digital environment as the first step of the customer’s journey is smart since this environment is barrier-free, non-binding, and quickly accessible. A human staff member can then take over further down the road, guiding the customer towards the end of the journey. A total conversion rate is guaranteed to improve since the customers don’t have to go anywhere to get things moving.
Digital environment as the only channel of communication
A considerable proportion of clients want to do as many things as possible online. Huge leaps have been made in this area in 2020, a year marked by the covid pandemic, a year when people avoided contact with others, a year that represented a huge opportunity to break big “digital taboos” in the banking sector. And with modern security and identity verification methods, this trend is bound to become more and more widespread.