Reading a market report on the fintech space today I started to pull a few different threads together from different pieces of work I’ve been doing. What came out of it was an idea: that convenience increasingly trumps trust.
Let me qualify that. If you raise the issues of trust in institutions or corporations, people tend to thing of large organisations that are long-established. If we describe something as ‘trustworthy’ we mean that it’s not going anywhere fast. But that clearly has both positive and negative connotations.
Like describing a person as a ‘safe pair of hands’.
Post-crash people talk a lot about the loss of trust in banks and financial institutions. But I don’t think the general dislike of finance companies comes from their bad behaviour in the early noughties. It doesn’t help but I think peoples’ disdain is fuelled more by the time and financial costs they present in our daily lives.
Because finance companies and their products and services are intensely inconvenient.
- Re-mortgaging will probably going to cost me upwards of eight hours of my time since my finances are a little complex
- I was recently forced to change my home insurance provider and go through the rigmarole of a comparison service, not because the product bad but because my current provider wanted to charge me three times the market rate
- Setting up a new venture a couple of years ago, my partner and I waited six months for two different banks to fail to create us a new account, even after two meetings
These are not unfamiliar stories for many. And it’s all friction — something we hate.
Doing some market research with a client recently on the future of retail, we found that convenience is one of the biggest factors in building loyalty with customers — much more so than any formal loyalty scheme.
People want the right product or service, when they want it, and on the channel of their choosing. This is far from what the banks, lenders and insurers provide.
It is improving, in places. But I don’t think most companies are keeping pace with an expectation that is defined by digital media services, social networks and goods on demand.
They are not moving fast, unlike their new, hungry competitors.
For large and growing parts of the population, banks have little brand equity. Are they trusted? Perhaps. But I just don’t believe they are trusted enough to defend them from aggressive market entrants who may be able to offer an experience that is an order of magnitude better.
Faster, easier, cheaper.
Convenience trumps trust.