Over half of UK customers complain of poor online banking services during lockdown

Many customers feel let down by their banks’ lack of online services and support since lockdown, with 58% unable to access the help or online banking facilities they need from home, at a time they need them the most.

With high street banks only open for limited hours, the most common complaint since lockdown by a third of customers was not being able to get through online when needed, and 30% criticised their bank for failing to respond to their query in real time.

The figures were revealed in a UK study of 2,000 consumers and 500 banks by managed cloud communications provider, Olive. Its report, ‘The UK digital banking landscape during a pandemic’, found that customers’ frustrations with their bank’s digital services were heightened further by fragmented online banking services and support channels, with a quarter complaining of customer service channels not being joined up.

Nearly half said there was no way of contacting their bank online through live chat, virtual agent or social media and a combined third of customers were unable to reach their bank by phone or email for enquiries.

A quarter highlighted that no video banking facilities are available, failing to meet their online banking needs, particularly among Millennials and the Generation Zs.

Olive polled 500 banks both before and during the pandemic. 60% admitted back in February, before Covid-19 struck the UK, that their online banking services were not up to standard for the next generation of digital natives such as Generation Zs. As a result, 69% of banks said they were planning to improve their online banking facilities and customer service this year.

The impact of Covid-19 has seen these plans to digitally transform services fast tracked, with 73% of banks polled by Olive since the pandemic spending £50,000 or more in improving their digital and online customer services; one in three have invested between £500,000 and £2 million.

As a result, 58% of banks believe they have successfully met the heightened demand in customers’ online banking needs since Covid-19 – a stark contrast to Olive’s consumer findings.

“While some high street banks do provide excellent digital services, our research highlights the need for wider digitalisation of the industry,” said Martin Flick, CEO at Olive. “Lockdown has been a real opportunity for banks to aid and support their customers through testing times, by providing the best in collaborative, online customer service; enabling customers to stay safe and observe social distancing rules by being able to bank online, whenever and however.

“Despite banks investing significant sums in enhancing their digital banking systems since Covid-19, our report shows that consumers are still feeling immensely frustrated by the lack of choice, accessibility and at times, quality of online services. In particular, a clear 60% of Gen Zs and Millennials feel their digital banking needs are still not been met – a generation where immediacy and convenience are essential, as with generations before.”


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