"When it comes down to it, people still crave personal contact when communicating with their financial institution. Talking in person or over the phone brings on feelings of familiarity and confidence, which are especially important to consumers in light of the financial crisis," said Susan Wolfe, vice president of financial services at the direct marketing strategy firm.
For the survey, respondents were asked for preferences and were allowed to choose more than one response. Mintel ranked the results accordingly. According to the survey, 65% say they prefer to get up close and personal at a branch to communicate, while 43% like the phone for its real-person, real-time qualities. Forty-four percent of survey respondents say they like logging on to a bank's secure Web site, and 34% choose e-mail as a preferred method of communication with their financial institution.
However, Web sites and e-mail remain important avenues for customer-to-financial institution contact. Young adults, especially, are likely to prefer online and e-mail communications when they want to contact their financial institution. Over half of Echo Boomers and Gen Xers (52% each) say they like reaching their financial institution through a secure Web site.
When Mintel Comperemedia asked survey respondents how they prefer their banks to contact them-mail, e-mail and in person were near ties at 43%, 42% and 40%, respectively.
"Though people have clear preferences for how they like to contact their financial institution, they aren't as opinionated about how their financial institution contact them," said Wolfe. "Financial institutions need to be mindful that every customer has different communication preferences, so they should offer multiple points of contact."