Accessible Banking: Are disabled customers worse off?

By Mark Long

Disabilities affect people from all walks of life.  Some live with theirs from birth, whilst others will have acquired theirs later on.  And of course disability is often referred to, as if it can be homogenised when in fact each type of disability whether it be hearing or sight, movement or mental disability brings its own challenges which are in turn experienced differently by each individual.

So when a major UK highstreet bank got in touch with us to help them better understand their customers and staff members with disabilities, we knew we had a complex project on our hands. How to sum up these disparate experiences and help this service provider to support staff and offer the best banking experience to users living with disabilities?

BVA BDRC has conducted large scale customer and staff surveys around accessibility which we have designed with respondents’ needs in mind, combining latest technology and tested rigorously before launch.

In this particular case our client wanted to understand and assess current satisfaction and advocacy levels among their customers with a disability, impairment or access need.

A fully accessible online customer survey questionnaire was created for the bank’s customers who either had a disability themselves or were carers of someone with a disability.

The research helped the bank understand how the disabilities were affecting the person’s everyday life, as well as their interactions with the bank.

Since conducting the initial accessibility research project, and resulting changes made to their service, the bank’s NPS amongst disabled users had increased significantly to +35.  Whilst NPS ratings had risen across the board from people living with disabilities, the strongest advocates, and the largest increase was from those with hearing impairments.

Promoters highlighted helpful/friendly staff and good online services, whereas detractors mentioned that they noticed branches closing. Surprisingly, 8 in 10 had not discussed their disability or access needs with the bank’s staff.  And awareness that the bank could record disabilities (for a good cause) is generally low, especially among non-carers.  Two thirds find the concept of self-disclosure via online and mobile banking to be appealing.

BVA BDRC has one of the largest financial services research teams and engages with an array of research audiences in this sector – from the high net worth to the heavily indebted, consumers and employees, brokers, businesses and professionals and the disabled.

Learn more about our financial services work and research offerings or feel free to get in touch.

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