Europe Fintech

Money & Misinformation: Financial Services Companies Risk the Wrath of Consumers With “Wrong Answers”

In times of crisis, people go searching for answers. And while the internet has made this search easier, the prevalence of misinformation online has made getting the right answer a lot less straightforward. With the economy facing so much uncertainty, people are growing increasingly worried about their financial health, and are turning to their banks and insurance providers for help. Thankfully, there are new tools in the world of search to help them tackle these questions head-on.

Helping to lead the charge against business misinformation is Jon Buss, MD of Yext UK. He is responsible for working with some of the biggest global brands to help them deliver the right answers using the latest agile search experience technology.

Prior to Yext, Buss held leadership positions at Dun & Bradstreet and Experian, contributing to over 20 years’ experience guiding digital start-ups and market-leading international organisations. Here he describes how financial services need to make sure they get answers right. 

COVID-19 has brought about a lot of questions for consumers, many of which aren’t health-related. With the economy facing so much uncertainty, people are growing increasingly worried about their financial health in the short, medium- and long-term.

What’s more, the pandemic has brought the fear of wrong information to the forefront of many people’s minds, with 42% of workers having received suspicious emails since they started working from home. Cyber-criminals, bad actors and scammers are trying to take advantage of the present situation, so customers know they need to be cautious.

The cauldron of fear of financial health, misinformation and uncertainty is causing concern among consumers over financial services and brands. In fact, recent research shows that close to 7 in 10 (69%) people in the UK said they were willing to change their bank or insurance company over incorrect information online.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom. The present uncertainty also has people re-considering a lot of their financial choices. And firms that understand what’s motivating customers right now will be better able to meet their needs at the moment of intent.

However, in order to take advantage of this, financial institutions need to improve the relevance and accuracy of the information they provide to counter the negative reaction to misinformation customers have had over lockdown.

In fact, only 63% of customers are satisfied with how up-to-date the information they’ve received from their insurance company or bank has been, for example. This is a worrying number, but one which can be easily addressed.

For instance, providing a better site search experience – one that automatically understands a customer’s question and provides an instant and official answer from the business itself – would give customers the information they need, when they need it. In addition to helping customers feel more connected to – and trusting of their provider, this also reduces the amount of costly customer support interactions such as call centres.

Without the ability to visit branches, more people have had to engage with their banks online, and fortunately, two thirds (67%) say that they still trust the information given to them online by their banking partners.

So, while there’s still a lot of work to be done to improve the accuracy of the information consumers receives, there is a significant opportunity for those getting it right.

People are searching for guidance, reassurance and updates from their providers – we found that more than a quarter (27%) of people were looking for specific services such as credit, investment and accident insurance. A similar proportion have been searching for opening hours (24%) and the specific names of banks or insurance companies (24%) more often since lockdown began.

This means that the bar has been raised for the quality of information that financial service brands release. Providing wrong, outdated or unclear information can be devastating to the reputation of a business – and these days, reputation is everything.

For example, many consumers agree that reviews are an important way for them to decide on a bank or insurance company. But to be reviewed well requires a good online reputation. And more than ever, that reputation is tied to the quality of information brands put out into the world.

Financial services are built on trust. If businesses don’t provide satisfactory answers to customers’ questions, they’re eroding the foundation of their enterprise.

Information is a key asset when it comes to maintaining and strengthening consumer confidence – so it needs to be relevant, timely and, more than anything else, accurate.

Whether it’s updating online business listings, ensuring a top-notch search experience on websites or encouraging customers to leave positive reviews, providing the right information is crucial in succeeding in this increasingly digital age.

Author

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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