Posted by MeridianLink | April 1, 2024

Consumer Survey: Digital Experiences With a Personal Touch Are in Demand 

A recent MeridianLink consumer survey reveals the growing expectation for digital experiences tailored to individual needs. 

MeridianLink® recently surveyed over 1,000 Americans to learn more about consumer expectations, concerns, and preferences in financial services. The results reveal a need for financial institutions (FIs) to balance technological advancements with personalized service to come out ahead in an increasingly crowded market. Below, we dive into some of the findings, which you can learn more about in our full survey report. 

Financial Hurdles & Debt Concerns Are a Priority 

A whopping 60% of respondents aged 18-24 stated that they’re bracing for financial hurdles in 2024, while only 20% of respondents aged 55 and above shared the same concerns, highlighting the diverse financial situations consumers are navigating across, and even within, different generations. 

This diversity emphasizes the urgent need for personalized financial solutions tailored to each consumer’s circumstances, as well as the need for these solutions to resonate with distinct generational mindsets. 

Despite the broad range of financial situations consumers described, there was a particularly common worry among respondents: credit card debt. 19% of those surveyed stated that they anticipated credit card debt being their primary challenge this year, which aligns with MeridianLink’s recent customer survey in which FIs acknowledged the need to confront credit card debt as a paramount consumer concern. 

A Demand for Secure & Superb Service 

Digital transactions and information sharing are fundamental aspects of financial interactions in the digital age, so it’s no surprise that, as a result, consumers’ expectations are evolving alongside the technology. In fact, 48% of respondents expressed a strong desire for their FIs to prioritize efforts to safeguard information from fraud in the current year, meaning that banks and credit unions face a compelling mandate to robustly address these concerns if they want to maintain consumer trust. 

But while security goes a long way in fostering loyalty, it’s only one part of the equation. Quality service is just as crucial for today’s consumers, with 30% of respondents indicating a willingness to switch FIs if they experience unsatisfactory customer service at their local in-person branch. Additionally, 26% expressed a readiness to switch if faced with slow service, and in the presence of fragmented service, that figure grows to 27%. 

Digital Experiences Excite While AI Experiences Raise Skepticism 

Digital presence and omnichannel experiences are crucial to driving loyalty, as 36% of respondents expressed a desire for their FI to prioritize these innovations. This sentiment cannot be ignored, especially as tech-savvy younger generations make up an increasingly large share of FIs’ consumer bases. Among respondents in these generations, specifically aged 18-34, 33% stated that they plan to increase their reliance on digital banking in 2024.  

It appears that consumers and FIs are in alignment on this matter, as MeridianLink’s customer survey revealed that 42% of institutions recognize the importance of prioritizing seamless omnichannel experiences in the coming year. Following through on this recognition is vital for FIs to compete in the digital age since, while only 16% of consumer survey respondents explicitly cite subpar digital experiences as a reason to consider switching their primary FI, a steady undercurrent of silent attrition can slowly but surely redirect dissatisfied or disengaged consumers toward alternative institutions. 

There’s one aspect of the digital experience, however, that has consumers a bit skeptical: artificial intelligence (AI). 42% of respondents expressed varying degrees of uncertainty toward the prospect of their FI using AI to enhance the consumer experience. This feeling is reflected in the industry’s slow adoption of these tools, with just 12% of banks and credit unions signaling a commitment to using AI to improve customer service. 

FIs will need to strike a balance between technological advancement and consumer trust as they navigate the path forward with AI, and one way they can do that is by embracing a strategic approach that integrates human and AI elements into interactions. The goal is to leverage the efficiency and accuracy of AI while maintaining genuine, interpersonal consumer relationships, creating an all-around elevated experience. 

Where Do We Go From Here? 

The insights from this report can guide your FI’s operational framework to ensure consumer satisfaction while reaching key institutional objectives, achieved by seamlessly integrating digital advancements and personalized experiences. 

Three pivotal areas to focus on within your framework include: 

  1. Deposit Growth: User-friendly digital experiences coupled with proactive efforts to engage consumers on a personal level attract individuals seeking deposit-related services while also cultivating ongoing engagement. 
  2. Consumer Acquisition & Retention: Infusing a personal touch with data-driven strategies and advanced technology helps you grow and retain your consumer base by driving better experiences and deeper trust. 
  3. Digital Maturity: Digital transformation is an ongoing journey, not a destination. As your FI continues its path toward digital maturity, systematically evolving and refining digital experiences in alignment with industry dynamics and consumer behaviors will be crucial. 

Want To Learn More? 

Read the full report below for more details on consumer sentiments in 2024. 

Read the Full Report

One Solution, Many Possibilities 

Learn how MeridianLink® One can help your FI deliver the frictionless digital experiences today’s consumers demand and browse MeridianLink® Marketplace partnerships to discover leading fraud and risk mitigation organizations that seamlessly blend advanced security with positive user experiences. 

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