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UK banks must shape up to survive the tough demands of tomorrow's customers

Almost two thirds of the UK population are worried about their bank offshoring its customer contact centres, according to research commissioned by Fujitsu Services, one of Europe's leading IT management services companies.

March 22, 2005

Almost two thirds of the UK population are worried about their bank offshoring its customer contact centres, according to research commissioned by Fujitsu Services, one of Europe 's leading IT management services companies. Fujitsu's research also shows that consumers are interested in their banks offering them more service channels that are available 24-hours a day. However, over half the UK population still cannot live without their high street branch.

As banks implement internet and mobile phone banking to offer customers a greater level of service, 13 per cent of consumers in the UK have welcomed these new technologies that give them easier access to their finances. These figures also show that despite being a success, particularly with the male population, not everyone has confidence in their bank's multi-channel banking approach. 48 per cent of consumers asked by Fujitsu said they either find the new technologies confusing, too hard to use or are worried about security.

"Banks can service a greater proportion of customers by implementing the technologies and infrastructure to provide multi-channel banking," comments Ann Hosford, business development manager for financial services at Fujitsu Services."However, banks must ensure they can provide customers with guarantees regarding the reliability of the service, security of financial information, and provide support and training on how best to use them."

The move into more of a 24-hour culture is reflected in the demands placed on banks by consumers, especially those between 16 and 34 years old. Almost a third of respondents in this age bracket want to see branches open 24-hours.

The research findings also show that nearly half of 16-34 year olds would switch banks if offered reduced charges and fees for overdrafts, bounced cheques and cash machines withdrawals.

"We are seeing increasing pressure placed on banks to reduce operating costs and pass these on to the customers," Hosford comments. "An offshore contact centre is seen by many banks as a solution to reducing costs. In practise though, there are other "more customer friendly" ways to manage operating costs."

To meet the tough demands of tomorrow's customers, banks should consider a strategy that eliminates the need to offshore their contact centre and achieve reductions in operating costs. One of the ways of doing this is by reviewing call centre processes and monitoring what customers are calling in for. This can provide potential areas of saving by highlighting processes which could be automated, outlining better ways in which agents can be supported in providing the necessary information to customers, and improvements that can be made to other banking channels. This call centre methodology empowers call centre agents and can be used to drive down the cost of servicing each customer, thereby allowing banks to achieve the above goals.

About Fujitsu Services

Fujitsu Services is one of the leading IT services companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa . It has an annual turnover of £1.74 billion, (€2.58 billion) employs 14,500 people and operates in over 20 countries. It designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the financial services, telecom, retail, utilities and government markets. Its core strength is the delivery of IT infrastructure management and outsourcing across desktop, networking and data centre environments, together with a full range of related services, from consulting through integration and deployment. Headquartered in London , Fujitsu Services is the European-centred IT services arm of the Fujitsu Group. The Fujitsu Group is a US$45 billion (€37 billion) leader in customer-focused IT systems and services for the global marketplace.

About the research

Independent research commissioned by Fujitsu Services between January and April 2007, examined how the use of self-service technologies is impacting the customer experience. The first phase of the research consisted of 12 focus groups (six conducted with groups of 18 to 25 year olds and six in which participants were aged 50 or over), convened in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Spain. Feedback from the focus groups was then used to compile a quantitative questionnaire, which was completed online by 2,400 respondents living in the five countries previously mentioned and in the Netherlands.

Graham Goulden

Phone: Phone: + 44 (0) 1753 604736
Fax: + 44 (0) 1753 604669
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Company:Fujitsu Services

Rachel Headon

Phone: Phone: +44 (0) 20 73861445
E-mail: E-mail:
Company:Firefly Communications

Date: 22 March, 2005