Hold the phone! Brits prefer DIY and AI banking

Toni Sekinah, research analyst and features editor, DataIQ

Even in urgent situations such as suspicious activity, an overdrawn account or an expiring credit card, it seems that nearly three in ten Brits (28%) would prefer to have no contact from their bank and handle the issue on their own. For everyday needs, six out of ten British respondents  go directly to their bank's website and 33% said this the preferred channel to serve all their banking needs.

Avaya commissioned market research company YouGov to survey 5,000 consumers in June across the UK, Australia, UAE and India, of which 2,345 were from the UK, about their communication choices when it comes to banking. The participants were asked how they currently communicate with their banks when looking for financial advice and in what circumstances they want their bank to contact them. 

Natalie Keightley, customer experience solutions marketing lead at Avaya, told DataIQ in an interview that this trend towards banking without the assistance of call centre or branch staff has been taking place for some time. She said: “We’ve seen people get more and more self-sufficient when it comes to the transactional nature of their interactions. Certainly, we have seen a move to online and digital channels.”

Women working at telephone exchangeDespite this preference for independent banking, the survey showed that few British respondents were dissatisfied with communication by phone and many still visited branches. More than half (64%) said they hadn’t experienced any issues when contacting their bank’s call centre and more than a third (36%) said they still go into their local branch.

Keightley explained that it is not a zero-sum game as use of the voice channel is not decreasing as a directly result of use of the online channel increasing. She said: “It’s not about trying to decide whether it is going to be one or the other. It’s about complementing and providing customers with everything.”

She said she sees growth in the use of automation and artificial intelligence as a way to communicate with customers in the future. Keightley explained: “There is a massive amount of interest in taking automation to the next level and automation is going from just purely voice and speech data channels into digital channels and that’s really where chatbots are coming to the fore.”

Keightley also noted that digital channels “certainly” are making it easier for organisations to collect relevant information about their customers and that the main challenge is not collecting data, but rather analysing it and being able to use it when it is relevant in the customer journey.

It is worth pointing out that the Unisys Security Index carried out a survey in April found that many Brits were concerned about the risk of carrying out financial transactions online. Its findings show that 48% of Brits were extremely or very concerned about bankcard fraud and 39% were extremely or very concerned about online transactions.


Knowledge-based content manager, DataIQ
Toni is the senior features editor responsible for the origination of DataIQ's interviews, articles and blogs.