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Paul Twite, Managing Director of Toluna UK

The financial sector has always had to carefully balance the need to gather actionable data from customers and prospects, with adherence to regulations around privacy and data protection. This challenge has, perhaps, contributed to a degree of consumer frustration.

The recently published FIS Consumer Banking PACE Index reveals that 75 per cent of consumers worldwide feel there is a gulf between their bank’s performance and their own expectations, highlighting financial firms’ struggle to connect with their audiences.

For any company in 2016, the ability to quickly gather accurate feedback from relevant audiences is vital. Of course, financiers face the added challenge of starting conversations around an often niche selection of services that need to be handled with a certain degree of sensitivity.

A beacon of hope lies in new web-based technologies, such as Toluna, that are revolutionising market research. Organisations have realised that in many cases sending surveys through the post, or taking to the streets armed with clipboard and pen is a thing of the past. More and more companies are moving to digital methods for obtaining survey responses, driven by the speed with which data can be collected, analysed and action.

Mobile, tablets and laptops are the preferred tools for data collection, having replaced paper and post. Working with digital surveys makes it easier to understand how technology is able to revolutionise the data-gathering processes utilised by financial institutions and their speed to actionable insight.

Digital survey companies help their clients daily, by connecting them to tailored independent panels of respondents with the most specific of questions. After this initial stage of connecting financial institutions with the people that matter to them, the next stage is to ensure organisations are able to gather the data that matters.Retail banks, for example, often want to test offers before implementation to test both efficacy and compliance.

Digital survey technology can also help payment solution providers understand what people look for when deciding between payment methods. Surveys help these organisations test the market and assess which factors will encourage them to switch – whether it’s security, convenience, or a special offer.

Many financial firms are also attracted to carefully curated online communities for the increased likelihood of receiving authentic results. Members of different communities are much more likely to feel comfortable disclosing the details of their financial plans on one of our anonymous panels than they are to confide in an official brand representative.

Transamerica approached Toluna when seeking a partner that could help them to build a bespoke customer community.  This ready access to customers enabled them to better understand the real  ‘voice of the consumer’. Toluna was able to help recruit 3,000 members and provide a full service approach, giving Transamerica the ability to test offers and messaging with highly targeted, and qualified individuals.

By embracing the possibilities offered by web-based survey platforms, financial firms can genuinely understand the profiles of people who make purchasing decisions. It is much more likely that they will discover exactly what motivates customers in the market to purchase a car, a house or even sign up to a new life insurance policy. Firms can also issue surveys instantly, meaning they can test ideas at every stage of development.

New technologies in market research are evidently beneficial to companies and organisations across all industries, but financial firms could see the biggest change in the level of results they see. All they have to decide is who matters to them most, and what to ask.

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