The community ran for 12 weeks, and gathered over 2000 contributions from 100 participants.
This was delivered through the new Ci Nation community portal, which included online discussion forums, polls and live online chat with consumers.
Here is a taster of some recurring themes from the online discussions.
1. Increasing frustration surrounding in-branch banking experience
(falling further behind other sectors in terms of standards) – long queues, overly formal, unwelcoming.
“I could go on all day with the issues I have with UK bank branches! I don’t think I have ever had a good experience in-branch. Partly to do with incompetent staff, partly to do with the stuffy nature of the branches themselves” (Male, 17-25)
2. An overriding sense that banks (and to a lesser extent other FS organisations) do not have the customers interests at heart. Perceptions of ‘pushy’ counter-staff trying to up-sell.
“I prefer to do my banking online and only go in-branch when there isn’t an alternative. If I am going in a branch I set myself up in advance for a long wait followed by the multiple questioning at the counter about my other financial products, when I usually only want to pay a cheque in.”(Female, 36-45)
3. Consumers feeling more informed than ever before – savvy and empowered to negotiate deals or preferential rates (across FS products).
“I have used Confused & Go Compare for car insurance, but have never bought through them. I use them to get a base price then call a company directly to get them to beat it. Seems to work 90% of the time. They will match it the other 10%.” (Male, 17-25)
4. That said, a thirst for further financial education was apparent. The need for this is of greater importance amongst young people (according to older consumers and the young people themselves).
“Unfortunately young people, my own children included, cannot see the importance of investing, preferring to focus on the here and now such as socials, holidays etc. I am sure there will be a time when they realise the error of this approach. I just hope that they realise sooner rather than later. Financial planning / education will help. But attitudes with regards to the ‘live today society’ need to change.” (Male ,56-65)
“I’m nearly 22 and I know next to nothing about investments apart from the basics of ISA’s. I have no pension (being that I am a student and can’t afford to pay into one) but from everything I’ve heard I’m not sure a pension plan is the best way to go. I suppose I am investing in my future with my education, but I do really need to learn more about this stuff – especially with the recent issues with pensions.” (Female, 17-25)
5. A demand for more tailored insurance products
“With insurance I sometimes feel they are trying to fit everyone in the same box. They don’t take into consideration that people are individuals. They should provide policies that are matched to people’s lifestyles.” (Female, 26-35)