High Street banks: Stuck in the bubble?

Why the PSONA millennials are saying listen up…

If you were to ask me [Adam] and the majority of other young people for our banking customer journey, you would probably hear a fairly unenthused tale lacking in interest. A journey of removed decisions, and unexplained changes.

The process of junior saver, to student to current account is so clearly laid out that it has made the process devoid of all empathy and understanding, and has left myself and my peers unanimously feeling that banking is something not to be concerned about until later in life.

Banks are to us, an obvious necessity — but nothing more.

My peers pull no punches when it comes to talking about their banking journey

From social listening, we can see that this lack of sentiment comes through in the way everyone talks about banks. By looking at the break down of language used when mentioning 4 of the major high street banks, we can get a solid view into how banks are perceived.

And to go even further, by grouping the language into specific areas of the PSONA Make It Matter drivers (Inform me, Support me, Recognise me, Inspire me, Entertain me & Connect me) we can see that whilst the banks perform strongly in support and inform, they fail miserably in inspire and recognise. This corresponds with what myself and my peers have said; we simply don’t care what our banks have to say.

The language used to describe High St banks, is dominated by informative language.

And yet, there is a rare section of banks that are augmenting behaviour and are managing to get millennials talking enthusiastically about banking once again — challenger banks.

The likes of Monzo, Starling and Atom, all formed in the wake of the financial crash in the late 2000’s, have done the incredible — got millennials talking about banking in a positive light.

Fundamentally, they have made banking simple. Emoji’s in place of jargon, instant messaging in place of call centres, personalised logos to identify customers and it is being lapped up.

Language used to describe challenger banks is more balanced than the high st.

The language used around challenger banks is vastly different from the language used around high street banks. It is more balanced than the high street, with relative mention volume being spread well across recognise, inspire and inform me and with far less emphasis on support me. Whilst high street banks are facing customer service queries and complaints over social media each day, the challenger banks have the ability to deal with each query one on one, via the app. Simple.

These are the things that matter to the young consumer.

And so, what can the high street banks do to match the demand and make their current millennial base as enthusiastic about them — the answer, think like a millennial.

Some are getting there. Metro bank operates a customer satisfaction bonus scheme, whereby employees are rewarded in line with their customers satisfaction in an effort to incentivise their staff to be passionate about the way they treat their customers.

Barclays have been attempting to incorporate cheque scanning ability into their mobile apps, so that paying a cheque into your account no longer becomes the centre of your day.

But too many are lagging behind.

UK wide mobile cheque scanning is expected at some point in 2018.

In a world where millennials are constantly reminded that we won’t be able to buy a house Monzo say, don’t worry about it. We’ll give you a card that makes tracking your spend easy. Because they know that tracking your spending is a pain.

In a world where we live on our mobiles, the challenger banks didn’t look at that as a channel for comms, but as a place a bank could live. Rather than push their latest ISA, they keep us up to date with our spending and gave us free transactions abroad. Because they know who we are, and what we like.

In a world where opening a savings account isn’t a consideration, Atom put a saving account on an app. Because they know that saving £10 each month is better than nothing, and like a caring big sister they nudge us into the behaviour.

They are thinking and behaving like a millennial. Because they know what that means.

Banks are still thinking and behaving like a bank. Because they don’t know anything else.

Whilst we millennials are after a digital wallet, the high street banks are still trying to empty our leather ones.