The 5 pillars for building trust in financial services

In order for banks to keep their customers, they need to build and maintain high levels of trust in the products and services they offer. How can banking customers be expected to entrust a bank with their current and future financial lives without having a high-level of trust in the provider?

Traditionally, trust is built through face-to-face interactions but, with the accelerated movement of banking services online, how can banks build that same level of trust with customers digitally?

This is a predicament for both newcomers into the space and incumbents. For newcomers in the industry, they will not initially have the same brand recognition and brand trust as incumbents. They will have to work hard to build trust from the ground up digitally.

For incumbents, as they continue to expand their digital service offering and reduce the number of branches they have, they must consider how they plan on transferring their earned trust online.

The 5 pillars for building trust in financial services are:


  1. Security
  2. In the digital world, customers are asked to trust providers in new and deeper ways, by providing more data and personal information online. It is not uncommon to hear about data breaches or hacking events that can quickly eliminate any trust a financial institution had built with their customers. Banks must ensure that the digital technologies they use are secure and reliable. Cybersecurity is central to building trust in digital financial services.


  3. “Human” interactions
  4. Despite digital gains, in certain situations, human interactions cannot be ignored. People trust people. Technology can be used to augment experiences, but it needs the human aspect to drive engagement, loyalty and brand satisfaction. Customers still want to interact with trusted experts, so even if it is through content on the website or a conversational chatbot, financial institutions need to incorporate a human-like element into interactions.


  5. Personalisation
  6. The growth of digital services has changed the type of experience and increased the level of personalisation that a customer expects from their financial services partner. Technologies like cloud computing, AI & machine learning are making personalisation at scale possible. Banks can delight customers by providing personalised and contextual recommendations, insights and nudges that help them to manage their finances effectively. In order to build trust, the customer must be at the centre of digital plans and data should be used to deliver relevant and helpful information based on the customers’ needs.


  7. Exceptional customer journeys
  8. The customer journey plays a key role in building trust in financial services. Banks need to consider what happens after a client is acquired and what journey they go through. Creating seamless customer journeys involves removing friction points, streamlining services and delivering efficient processes that align with customer demands, reduce customer drop-off and increase engagement. Whether carrying out a transaction online or contacting the financial institution through social media, the experience should be consistent and on-brand.


  9. Radical transparency
  10. Transparency builds trust. By providing customers with all the relevant and necessary information about the products and services available to them, it not only helps them to make appropriate financial decisions but creates trust for the bank. Banks should disclose what customers need to know upfront and stay away from misleading messaging and marketing, and not just by fear of the regulators. By being transparent about the Terms & Conditions, customers can feel confident in the decision they are making and know that they can trust their bank.

Trust is central to the success of a bank. It can drive engagement, increase loyalty and has a direct impact on a bank’s bottom line. Customers should feel that they can trust their financial services partner to provide them with products and services that they really need. Banks need to understand their customer’s motivations and behaviours in order to deliver exceptional customer journeys, ensure long-term loyalty and to build and maintain trust.

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