With many bank branches closed or facing restricted operating hours due to the coronavirus pandemic, Yext, Inc. (NYSE: YEXT), the Search Experience Cloud company, reveals a surge in searches online for financial service products during the coronavirus pandemic: consumers currently search on the web for banking information eight times a month.
Consequently, no company is safe as consumer expectations are sky-high, with 7-in-10 (69%) saying they are willing to change their bank or insurance company due to bad experiences of information online, pointing to a desire for better customer experiences and presentation of information.
Trusting online information
With over three in five (63%) consumers concerned about misinformation online, which indicates that there is still much to be done to build trust and reliability in online information, financial services have a challenge ahead of them.
And while two thirds (67%) of customers trust the information given to them online by financial service brands, only 63% are satisfied with the information provided by their insurance company or bank, indicating that there is still more to be done to provide better answers to customers. For example, the majority of consumers (93%) think services could be improved with either a live chat or better way to get answers to their questions. Despite this, over half (53%) agree that they’re more likely to either buy insurance online or bank online after the pandemic than before it.
“It is a constant battle for brands to reassure and promise consumers that the information they’re receiving online is accurate. From social media conspiracies to conflicting deals and offers, consumers are constantly presented with misinformation,” said Jon Buss, MD of Yext UK. “That’s why it’s even more important for financial services to get this right – with so many customers reliant on their offerings, they can’t afford for the information online to be wrong. Worse, with limited physical locations, consumers are flooding contact centres looking for information. Providing answers first online can alleviate this strain and we’ve seen this reduce visits by almost half with other brands.”
Lockdown search habits
When it comes to the services that consumers are searching for from banks and insurance firms online during the pandemic, online banking remains the top choice by far (62%), showing the concern consumers still have around ensuring their money is managed well. The other top searches were for insurance (43%), checking account (42%), credit (36%) and investment (33%).
In particular, consumers have been searching for increasingly detailed information from financial services, with just over a quarter (27%) looking for specific services (e.g. credit, investment, accident insurance, etc.), while a similar proportion search for opening hours (24%) and the specific name of the bank or insurance company (24%) more often.
Online search and reputation
Consumers search for more than just a bank’s own services when searching online, however. The role of search in determining whether a customer will sign up to a particular service cannot be underestimated. For instance, almost four in five (77%) consumers said reviews are important to them if they choose a bank or insurance company, so making this information easy to locate and access is crucial.
Besides reviews, the five recommendations consumers rely most on when choosing a bank or insurance company are:
- Results of rating and comparison portals such as Money Supermarket (39%)
- Family members (31%)
- Friends and acquaintances (25%)
- Consumer advice from organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau (22%)
- Search engine results (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) (21%)
Buss continues, “In what has become the toughest time for consumers and businesses in living memory, financial services must ensure that the customer’s first step of the banking journey – an online search – is providing the right information every time. They need to be prepared to answer the questions at every customer’s fingertips: what measures are in place in light of COVID-19, which services are available online and what the latest rates are. As well as advice from friends and family, these are all things that consumers will turn to websites and search engines to answer.”