The pandemic pushed millions of Australians to transition to saving, transacting, and managing their finances and lifestyle digitally.
This includes opening bank accounts remotely, purchasing groceries online, signing up to health appointments via mobile phones, and accessing superannuation or government services online. This boom in digital and mobile-first interactions, however, has not necessarily led to the same rise in digital trust towards these organisations.
The latest findings from GBG’s Digital Trust survey highlighted consumers are more comfortable with sharing their digital identity with large enterprises and organisations that they have had to rely on during the pandemic, but the requirement to share their digital identity is not necessarily their preference. The survey found that the top four industries consumers are “most comfortable” sharing their digital identity with are government websites, services and apps (66%), large banks (55%), superannuation firms (43%), and healthcare providers (41%). The survey also found only 14% of Australians believe being a large, reputable organisation such as a bank would be the biggest factor in increasing their trust in an organisation requesting their personal information or digital identity.
The research indicates that while many Australians have been willing to utilise digital channels to continue managing their finances, careers, and lifestyles effectively as a result of the restrictions of the pandemic, they may not be fully onboard. Businesses, need to be aware that a current or increased demand for services does not necessarily correlate to having acquired customer trust and ongoing customer loyalty.
Building trust builds resilience
Disruption is happening across all sectors, particularly finance and banking. Despite the turbulence last year, recent research has shown the number of fintechs and investment in the Australian fintech sector has actually grown during the pandemic. This means established financial institutions need to match new expectations in customer experience and the range of online services available. As highlighted by the survey, there has been a clear growth in demand for digital financial services, with many accessing these for the first time, including starting online home loans, opening bank accounts remotely, and digitally managing superannuation funds.
The evolution of the financial services sector throughout the pandemic has highlighted the importance of agility and open-mindedness. It will be critical for businesses to sustain this mindset and prioritise the building of digital trust with their consumers to maintain business resilience, as we continue to move deeper into a digital-first environment.
Recognise digital trust is unique to every customer
The survey found more than half (52%) of Australians are uncomfortable or very uncomfortable with sharing their digital identity online, and only 37% completely trust their bank with their digital identity and personal information. Yet the customer stickiness that Australian banks are renowned for also shone through the results, with only 4% saying they do not trust their bank with this information and are currently looking to switch banks.
On the one hand, established banks can rest assured many consumers are unlikely to suddenly switch banks for their core banking needs. However, it would be naïve to not recognise these findings also reflect the broader shift Australians are making towards using multiple financial service providers for various products and services, rather than staying with one bank to support every aspect of their business and lifestyle. In fact, new research shows almost one third of Australians have started a new banking relationship with a financial institution or non-bank service provider during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving forward, getting a greater share of wallet will be increasingly competitive and will require investments in personalised approaches and proactive efforts to build digital trust. To start with, businesses need to focus on effective communications and transparency, as almost one in five (19%) Australians would increase their trust in an organisation if they have clear terms and conditions available online that outlines how they will use the customer’s information.
As consumer behaviours continue to shift and adapt to the pandemic, particularly as digital identities take a bigger role in day-to-day activities and potential travel, establishing and building digital trust with consumers needs to be a key priority for businesses. Organisations that can sustain digital trust as Australians adopt new digital services will be well-positioned to retain and grow their customer base long-term.