New Research for the Banking Industry

Tracking Consumer Behaviors in the Era of Coronavirus

In this time of uncertainty, consumer behaviors and expectations are continually shifting. Our syndicated tracking study reveals opportunities for the industry to elevate customer experiences and deepen meaningful connections by providing clear, informative communications, enhancing digital interactions, and helpful financial guidance.
Consumer Sentiment
Digital Adoption
Live Banking Interactions
Ad Messaging
Financial Guidance

Consumer sentiment toward the industry’s response is generally positive

Consumer feedback centers around open communications, protecting customer and employee health, and assisting those experiencing financial hardships.
Positive Rating of Industry’s Response
Positive Rating of Primary Bank’s Response
Wave I

61%

Wave II

%

Wave I

68%

Wave II

%

Positive Rating of Industry’s Response
Wave I

61%

Wave II

%

Positive Rating of Primary Bank’s Response
Wave I

68%

Wave II

%

Ways banks are providing support
T

"Putting customers' needs first..."

“[They are] putting customer’s needs first by recognizing that some may need help or more time to make payments.”
T

"Encourage banking online..."

“They have closed the lobby and encourage everyone to bank online or via phone.”
T

"Show empathy..."

“They seem to show empathy to help those that are struggling financially.”
“[They are] putting customer’s needs first by recognizing that some may need help or more time to make payments.”
“They have closed the lobby and encourage everyone to bank online or via phone.”
“They seem to show empathy to help those that are struggling financially.”

Consumers are adopting new digital banking behaviors

Just over a fourth of consumers are using digital banking tools and resources in new ways, whether it’s depositing a check on their mobile phone or setting up online payments for the first time, and many would talk with a bank representative virtually.

Consumers are adopting new digital banking behaviors

Just over a fourth of consumers are using digital banking tools and resources in new ways, whether it’s depositing a check on their mobile phone or setting up online payments for the first time, and many would talk with a bank representative virtually.

Tried a digital activity for the first time

%

Would use virtual meetings

%

Contactless payment methods for retail purchases
Among consumers using these methods, a third plan to increase usage of contactless payments like Tap to Pay or Zelle.

1/3

Plan to increase use of contactless payment

One-on-one interactions continue to play an important role

At the same time that digital channel use is increasing, many consumers are still visiting their branches. Some consumers feel there are certain banking situations or questions that require speaking directly with an employee either in the branch, at the drive-thru, or over the phone.
Visited inside a branch

44%

Felt safe in the branch
75%
Importance of live banking interactions
T

"I am more reassured..."

“I am more reassured when I actually talk to an Associate because of their tone and the time they take with me. Sometimes, texts, emails and even live chats leave additional questions or a little confusion. I just feel better talking to people.”
T

"Problems are better discussed..."

“I think that problems sometimes are better discussed with a person than typed online.”
T

"Opening an account..."

“Personally, I would like to interact with someone when opening an account.”
I am more reassured when I actually talk to an Associate because of their tone and the time they take with me. Sometimes, texts, emails and even live chats leave additional questions or a little confusion. I just feel better talking to people.”
“I think that problems sometimes are better discussed with a person than typed online.”
“Personally, I would like to interact with someone when opening an account.”

Currently, consumers gravitate toward messaging tied to Coronavirus

However, reactions are mixed regarding the most appropriate focus. Some consumers prefer ads on how banks are supporting customers, employees, and the community. Nearly a fourth lean toward messages that feature specific ways banks are helping customers during this time, such as being flexible with delayed payments. While others like ads communicating that “We’re all in this together,” reactions to this approach appear polarized.

Currently, consumers gravitate toward messaging tied to Coronavirus

However, reactions are mixed regarding the most appropriate focus. Some consumers prefer ads on how banks are supporting customers, employees, and the community. Nearly a fourth lean toward messages that feature specific ways banks are helping customers during this time, such as being flexible with delayed payments. While others like ads communicating that “We’re all in this together,” reactions to this approach appear polarized.

Preferred advertising approaches
How banks are supporting customers, employees, and/or community
We’re all in this together

Ways banks are helping customers (i.e., delayed payments)

31%
28%
23%
Business as usual, not tied to Coronavirus
Should not be advertising right now
13%
5%
Reactions to messaging
T

"Everyone went down the 'we're all in this together' route..."

“I feel like everyone went down the “we’re all in this together” route and I’m sick of seeing it from big companies who pay their CEOs thousands more times than I make in a single year. I’m more interested in what they’re doing to protect and aid their employees and the community, and the safeguards put in place for the customer’s safety.”

T

"Sensitive to the needs of society..."

“I want to know that institutions are sensitive to the needs of society; how an institution responds during these difficult times will have a lasting impression on me. If any of them invest in those who need help now, then I am more likely to invest in them because they are good corporate citizens. If any of them exploit the situation, then I am likely to avoid them for my duration.”
T

"Create a sense of togetherness..."

“The community as a whole is experiencing an unexpected hardship. By supporting each other, we create a sense of togetherness and know that we can rely on certain individuals/institutions during the good times and the bad times.”

Preferred advertising approaches
31%

How banks are supporting customers, employees, and/or community

28%
We’re all in this together
23%

Ways banks are helping customers (i.e., delayed payments)

13%
Business as usual, not tied to Coronavirus
5%
Should not be advertising right now
Reactions to messaging
“I feel like everyone went down the “we’re all in this together” route and I’m sick of seeing it from big companies who pay their CEOs thousands more times than I make in a single year. I’m more interested in what they’re doing to protect and aid their employees and the community, and the safeguards put in place for the customers safety.”
“I want to know that institutions are sensitive to the needs of society; how an institution responds during these difficult times will have a lasting impression on me. If any of them invest in those who need help now, then I am more likely to invest in them because they are good corporate citizens. If any of them exploit the situation, then I am likely to avoid them for my duration.”
“Because the community as a whole is experiencing an unexpected hardship. By supporting each other we create a sense of togetherness and know that we can rely on certain individuals/institutions during the good times and the bad times.”

As consumers adjust to the pandemic’s impact, they are open to advice

Most consumers have some interest in receiving information or guidance from their primary bank. Tips on creating and following a budget, ways to save more, paying off debt, or setting up digital alerts to help better manage their finances are just some of the topics of interest.

As consumers adjust to the pandemic’s impact, they are open to advice

Most consumers have some interest in receiving information or guidance from their primary bank. Tips on creating and following a budget, ways to save more, paying off debt, or setting up digital alerts to help better manage their finances are just some of the topics of interest.
Open to financial guidance

%

Preferred channels

for financial guidance

Email

%

Website

%

Mobile App

%

It should come as no surprise that nearly half of consumers are feeling at least somewhat insecure about their level of financial preparedness in upcoming months. In fact, one-quarter are currently facing a financial hardship. At a time when millions are navigating economic challenges, banks have an even greater opportunity to offer support and guidance. Consumers are clearly receptive to communications delivering timely money management advice and innovative customer assistance solutions.
Open to financial guidance

%

Preferred channels

for financial guidance

%

Email

%

Website

%

Mobile App

It should come as no surprise that nearly half of consumers are feeling at least somewhat insecure about their level of financial preparedness in upcoming months. In fact, one-quarter are currently facing a financial hardship. At a time when millions are navigating economic challenges, banks have an even greater opportunity to offer support and guidance. Consumers are clearly receptive to communications delivering timely money management advice and innovative customer assistance solutions.

Learn more from your customers

Our research points to a number of ways consumer banking behaviors are evolving. Given the level of disruption the pandemic is bringing to our daily lives, it’s more important now, than even a few months ago, to listen closely to the voice of your customer. With a deeper understanding of your customers, you’ll have the information you need to continue assessing their rapidly changing behaviors, anticipate future needs, enhance brand experiences, and deepen customer connections.

Customer Experience
cx advocacy research

Customer Experience

  • How have the experiences that matter most to customers changed?
  • How lasting, if at all, will these changes be?
  • In what ways are product/channel usage and satisfaction shifting?
  • What new innovations will your customers need going forward?
Usability Testing
cx advocacy research

Usability Testing

  • Are there digital channel usage pain points that need addressing?
  • What information and/or support would ease digital adoption?
  • What unmet needs could be fulfilled by new digital tools?
Brand Health
brand reputation research

Brand Health

  • Are customer perceptions and emotional associations with your brand shifting?
  • How well aligned is your brand promise with customer perceptions?
  • What opportunities exist to strengthen your brand reputation?
Advertising Testing & Effectiveness
campaign effectiveness research

Advertising Testing & Effectiveness

  • What key messages resonate strongest with your target audience?
  • What effect is your advertising having on your KPIs?
  • How are marketing communications performing vs. key competitors?

Research Methodology

The Dieringer Research Group, Inc. (The DRG), conducted a nationwide, syndicated online survey among 501 consumers using an online panel. Data collection for Wave I took place April 15-17, 2020, Wave II was conducted between June 9-10, 2020. To qualify for the study, participants needed to be 18 years of age or older, either the primary or shared financial decision maker in their household, and currently have either a checking or savings account. The resulting data was weighted to the U.S. Census for the banked population by age, income, ethnicity, gender, region, and education.

View the findings from Wave I

About The DRG

We are a full-service marketing research firm specializing in CX/EX research, brand awareness & perception, product development & testing, advertising & communications effectiveness, and market opportunity research across industries such as banking and finance, healthcare and insurance, agencies, and utilities. We help clients learn from their customers and swiftly leverage that knowledge so they can elevate their brand and be equipped to better serve the consumer of tomorrow. The DRG is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

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