7 million 18-30 year olds demand WhatsApp-style customer service messaging from their banks

More than six in ten (61%) bank and building society customers aged 18 to 30, equivalent to nearly seven million people, are demanding WhatsApp-style customer service messaging, after shunning all forms of traditional communication with their bank.

This is according to new research from Intelligent Environments, which urged banks and building societies to reconnect with the so-called Hollyoaks generation by bringing customer service channels into the 21st century with mobile messaging and video call customer services.

According to the survey of 2,000 UK consumers, seven in ten (69%) 18-30 year olds never call their bank, while one in six never visit their own bank branch. Instead, the majority (61%) would prefer to contact their bank or building society directly through their existing digital banking app, using WhatsApp-style mobile messaging.

In addition to contacting customer services using mobile messaging, young consumers want FaceTime-style engagement with their financial services providers. As many as four in ten (43%) would like to speak to an advisor over a video call when they have a customer service question, something which is currently offered by Amazon, but not by any UK bank or building society.

>See also: How to hack a bank (theoretically)

David Webber, managing director of Intelligent Environments, said: “With the majority of Britons now managing their finances online and bank branches rapidly disappearing from our high streets, why should customer service channels remain stuck in the 1960s?

“Financial services providers need to look at ways to integrate customer service channels with forms of communication already being used by their technologically-savvy customers. Instead of wasting time trying to get through to a representative using telephone banking – which some see as an outdated customer service channel – customers could send a social media-style message or contact them using a video call via their banking app.”

According to the research, nearly a third of 18-30 year old banking customers have contacted their bank or building society via social media to complain (31%) or seek advice (30%).

Webber added: “As more and more banking customers shun telephone banking and go online to contact their financial services provider, private complaints are becoming public tweets, visible to thousands of followers.

“While this is not necessarily a bad thing as it offers the opportunity to connect with customers in a more direct, personalised and responsive way, it highlights the need for banks and building societies to offer communication channels that fit in with their digitally savvy customers.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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