To Digital and Beyond

The changing role of the financial services intermediary

A report by BZB-Fedafin and PwC Belgium

Pushing the boundaries of customer relationships

In the world of financial services, customers generally see value in the services of their intermediaries. To build and maintain customer loyalty, intermediaries need to look beyond the obvious price-product-brand matrix: customers seek meaningful relationships with their intermediaries. 

In collaboration with BZB-Fedafin, PwC asked 1,495 customers of financial intermediaries in Belgium to weigh in on how they feel about their relationships with and the services provided by their intermediaries. Previous studies showed that intermediaries needed to digitise to better serve their customers, but now that their use of digital tools is the norm, they need to focus on trust, interaction and relevance to retain and grow customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Customers of intermediaries are satisfied and loyal

Customers of intermediaries are satisfied and loyal

Overall, financial intermediaries maintain strong relationships with their customers. We found that:

  • 80% of respondents trust their intermediary. This number’s dependent on the number of years the client’s been with the intermediary.
  • 70% of customers have had the same intermediary for more than six years, and 50% of those for over ten years.
  • Two thirds would recommend their intermediary to family and friends.
  • 80% of customers feel that their intermediary treats them with respect.

Beyond digitisation: a new set of priorities

Customers don’t limit their purchase decisions to factors like price or brand: they’re looking for easy-to-understand information they trust, for which they rely on the competencies of their intermediary. 

That’s why this study focuses on three pillars, which go beyond the oft-cited 'price vs. brand' to explore another set of customer priorities.

While intermediaries score well overall on these points, our survey identifies key areas with room for improvement.

Trust: Customers have a lot of choices

Trust

Customers have a lot of choices, and want meaningful relationships with those with whom they do business. Trust is key to building these relationships.

Relevance: Intermediaries are expected to provide comprehensive information in a clear and understandable way.

Relevance

Intermediaries are expected to provide comprehensive information in a clear and understandable way. Timely and relevant information is essential to responding to customer needs.

Interaction: Being there at the right time, through the right channels

Interaction

Being there at the right time, through the right channels, with the right frequency plays an important role in the relationship between customer and intermediary.

The bottom line is customers want more interactive relationships 

The study reveals three main areas the intermediary can focus on to boost customer satisfaction:

  • Efficiency: Strive towards higher efficiency; 'getting the job done'.
  • Experience: Improve the customer experience - fast, easy, friendly, with a human touch.
  • Engagement: It's not simply a pension product, for example, but a journey towards retirement; a safety net for the future.

In the centre of these three areas lies the 'sweet spot'.

Three main areas the intermediary can focus: efficiency, experience and engagement. In the centre of these tree areas lies the 'sweet spot'

Contact us

Wim Lenaerts

Director, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 49 956 7399

Sophie Locus

Manager, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 47 494 9565

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