Are Monzo and Starling Bank changing the customer advocacy game?

By Mark Long

What a difference a year (and a half) makes in terms of financial services customer advocacy. In Q1 2017, I discussed Atom Bank’s emergence into a prime position when benchmarked by BVA BDRC against ‘traditional’ banking providers for Net Promoter Score (NPS). 18 months later, a clutch of newer, app-only platforms are setting even higher standards for levels of advocacy at both relational and transactional levels.

Following 30,000 consumer interviews in the year to July 2018, we see Monzo, Starling Bank and ‘B’ (from Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank) powering to the top our Relational NPS benchmark of 60+ banking brands. Over seven in ten Monzo and Starling customers are ‘Promoters’ of their platforms, pushing both providers at least 10 NPS points ahead of First Direct, the historic benchmark leader.

Our benchmarking system examines the contribution to overall advocacy made by individual customer experiences and specific touch points, and it’s here we see the real impact of the mobile banking app platform. In our latest assessment, Monzo customers using the app recently gave a transactional NPS rating of +95 – a close to ‘perfect’ NPS score – and customer comments included:


“Innovative app based banking with lots of new features being rolled out.”


“Very useful to be able to take care of everything on the mobile app. Fingerprint login, well laid out, good security features.”


“Great app, great customer service, cool app with great features!”


Can this customer enthusiasm be sustained? If so, how? Our analysis indicates that Atom Bank, a pioneering app-only provider, has slipped from the top of the benchmark 18 months ago back into the ‘pack’, and is now securing Relational NPS scores comparable to the traditional ‘bricks & mortar’ banking providers. Some comments point to slick functionality and competitive rates, but frustration with a relatively narrow product range.

So, that’s a challenge for the latest cohort of digital brands – maintain customer engagement and excitement whilst building scale, deposits, and lending momentum. We’ll continue to track their progress with interest (pun fully intended!).

These insights are generated by BVA BDRC’s Moments of Truth Benchmarking system. Want to know more about it? Information and subscription details can be found on the Moments of Truth webpage, or by contacting Mark Long or Selena Bowdidge at BVA BDRC. Current subscribers include Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, TSB, Nationwide BS, Coventry BS and Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank.