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High Street Beats Cyberspace For Money Advice


Apr 2, 2015 #Business, #North East

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 13.51.33Human knowledge, intuition and responsiveness are still valued above technology when it comes to information and advice about financial services.

That’s the key take-out from new research by Newcastle Building Society (NBS) into the ways in which people prefer to research and make their most important financial decisions

A survey of over 750 customers by NBS, which is one of the UK’s top ten building societies, found that around three quarters of respondents would look for face-to-face support when looking for financial advice, rather than turning to Internet-based or other online resources.

When visiting a High Street bank or building society branch, an overwhelming 90% of people said they would still prefer to be dealt with in person by a member of staff, with just ten per cent wanting to opt for a self-serve kiosk.

And at a time when the future retail relevance of the UK’s High Streets is being regularly called into question, the Newcastle also found that over three-quarters (76%) of those surveyed had visited a bank or building society branch within the past four weeks, a figure which rose to 84% for the preceding eight week period.

Building society and bank branches remain the most popular choice when customers are researching financial products, regardless of whether the requirement in question covers simple savings products, mortgages, home insurance or large investment options.

Over a third (34%) of those surveyed choose the face-to-face option, as opposed to 23% who go online and 21% who use magazines or newspapers, and the proportion who would choose to buy a mortgage face-to-face came in at a substantial 84%.

When asked: ‘do you feel there is still a need for branches on the High Street’, 99% of survey respondents said ‘yes,’ with their reason for choosing a branch including ‘access to cash and access to products that aren’t available online’, ‘a machine’s advice is only as good as the information you can extract and may not consider the fuller picture’, ‘knowledgeable and friendly staff’ and ‘a helpful face-to-face approach is less stressful and more opportunities to ask questions.’

Steve Urwin, Managing Director, Sales and Marketing at Newcastle Building Society says: “The results of our research clearly back up our everyday experience that people still hugely value both the personal and friendly service, and the range of advice they can get face-to-face in High Street branches.

“Online accessibility is of course very important for many, given the increased functionality of mobile phone usage, the need for greater flexibility and customer desire for online access to accounts, and it’s clearly something we look to reflect in the services we provide, but when it comes to looking for advice, the High Street is where people want to go.

“The financial decisions that people make in branch are some of the most important of their lives, and the degree of trust that’s developed from being able to fully engage with, question and gain the information required from a personal contact clearly remains paramount.”

By admin