Two thirds of respondents would continue using their provider after experiencing disruption: what is important is how quickly and effectively the company responds

Risk consultancy Crowe has announced the findings from its online YOUGOV survey into factors affecting consumer trust in financial services providers, and what drives consumers to switch providers.

As the business world has changed, customers’ attitudes towards disruption has changed too. The occurrence of disruptions, such as an IT failure, no longer automatically damages confidence and causes customers to change providers; it is how the company responds to a disruption that affects customer trust.

Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would still consider using their provider after experiencing disruption: what is important is how quickly and effectively the company responds.

Justin Elks, MD at Crowe, said: “The results of this YOUGOV survey show us how important operational resilience is to customers in choosing, staying with and switching financial services providers.” 

”Customers are more likely to use firms that are more resilient and respond well to operational disruption. This means that there are good business reasons for companies to go beyond regulatory compliance and turn operational resilience into a competitive advantage and a way to strengthen relationships and interactions with customers.”

Ability to adapt

Crowe sees operational resilience as a company’s ability to build confidence and trust in its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. This is achieved by preventing, responding to, recovering and learning from stresses and disruptions whilst delivering on promises to customers and achieving critical business objectives.

While regulatory focus has put this on firms’ agendas, it is becoming an increasingly important factor for companies to consider as a means of gaining a competitive edge.

Dissatisfaction with current provider (58%), rather than more competitive pricing elsewhere (35%), was the biggest driver behind people with financial services products wanting to switch providers. This highlights the importance of ensuring that business operations are resilient to a wide range of disruptive events.

Trust is not just about personal experience; having a strong reputation is key, with 54% of respondents likely to stop using or switch providers if a firm experiences widespread negative press connected to resilience, and nearly half of all respondents with financial products and services (45%) believing that reputation is important when choosing a provider. 

As a result, companies need to ensure that an effective response prioritises customer communications. In comments provided as part of the survey, ethics was also flagged as an increasingly important factor for companies, with 48% of 18-34 year olds placing a high value on company reputation and ethics.

Among UK consumers, the survey found that the four most important factors for financial service providers in effective operational resilience, through dealing effectively with a problem or disruption, are:

  • Facing the problem as quickly as possible (71%)
  • Timely and effective communication sent to the customer directly (62%)
  • Compensating customers for the disruption faced (61%)
  • Apologising for the disruption and admitting mistakes (58%)

“Responding effectively to disruption helps to build trust with customers,” added Elks. “Companies can increase trust by being agile and responsive in tackling problems, by providing transparent, timely and personal communications, taking responsibility for understanding the causes of the issues and fixing the underlying problems.”

”Responding well doesn’t happen by accident, but is the result of good preparation. Having an effective approach to operational resilience helps to ensure that firms have the right level of foresight and planning, which helps them to respond and adapt to changes in circumstances, and to learn lessons for the future.”