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Banking survey: Turning tide: bank branches must become an integral part of the digitalisation strategy

The latest industry report from the IT service provider adesso, titled “What bank customers want from online banking and what companies offer”, shows a clear preference for a digital customer journey. According to the findings, financial services providers should optimise their online presence and prioritise digital financial business in order to attract customers.

Digital channels offering information and guidance on financial services have never been so popular among consumers. In most cases, those who have already started their customer journey online stay loyal to their chosen channel. Alongside websites themselves, social networks are also becoming increasingly relevant, although banks’ social media presence is in need of improvement.

Customer experience: home page as the primary source of information

For most consumers (53 %), the first port of call for financial information is a bank’s website. Provider websites are actually considered more relevant than search engines (45 %) and comparison websites (30 %). The difference is even more pronounced when it comes to purchasing financial products: Around two-thirds of respondents said that they had purchased or taken out financial products through a bank’s website, whereas only 13 % use comparison websites for this purpose. Only 12 % of respondents stated that they had visited their local branch.

Boris Bohn is Head of Digital Channels at adesso (Copyright: adesso)

A nuanced view of personalised marketing

Acceptance of advertising on the basis of interests, hobbies and purchase history is twice as high as advertising based on age, marital status and search history. In general, there is significant potential among younger target groups, as this age cohort is more open-minded than older respondents. Pre-filled forms that speed up the buying process were particularly popular among respondents, with 62 % stating a preference for such offerings. When it comes to other forms of promotion and communication, most respondents have a positive view of advertising such as online banners and personalised emails (29 % approval respectively).

Online meets offline: omnichannel not the way to go for bank customers

Three-quarters of customers make a clear choice on their customer journey: either fully online (45 %) or completely offline (30 %). Only one in four bank customers structure their customer journey as a mixture of online and offline. Twice as many men as women do their banking online, which is why in-branch communication should be tailored to female target groups.

“The Digital First strategy will continue to define the future of banking,” says Ingo Gregus, Managing Director of the adesso subsidiary adesso experience GmbH. “Customers who are already immersed in the digital channel will no longer visit their local branch. The key factor here will be transforming the branch into an integral part of the entire digitalisation strategy. In other words, branches need to become more digital.”

Social commerce: utilising digital opportunities correctly

Financial services providers can make use of social networks as an information channel and leverage their increasing importance as part of the customer journey. Being bold here can pay off, as many competitors do not have much of a social media presence. YouTube is a particularly vast source of untapped potential, with only 44 % of companies using it as a marketing channel, even though 88 % of customers watch content on the website.

About the study

The adesso study takes a closer look at the impact of the last few months on e-commerce in the individual sectors as well as on the attitudes and behaviour of consumers. A representative sample of 1,000 online customers were surveyed on their shopping behaviour and 373 companies on their customer experience management activities.

The “What bank customers want from online banking and what companies offer” study is available online at:

“Our customer experience study reveals a number of interesting trends,” says Boris Bohn, Head of Digital Channels at adesso. “At a time when bank branches and financial transactions are becoming increasingly virtual, it is all the more important to offer an optimal, tailored customer experience to remain competitive over the long term.”

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