Accenture’s ground-breaking 2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study has seen four mindsets emerge from the data: Pioneers, Sceptics, Traditionalists and Pragmatists. In this series of blog posts, we’ll look at each type in the Australian context.¹

The global view

Globally, Sceptics formed the largest group among the survey’s 47,000 respondents, with one in three people falling into this category.

On the whole, the fact that Sceptics are such a large proportion of the population represents a challenge for financial services (FS) providers. Why? Because Sceptics are broadly frustrated: fewer than half are content with their providers most of the time; only one-third report a positive bank branch experience; they are typically less interested in integrated propositions; and they are not convinced that banks and insurers can be trusted to safeguard their data.

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Further, Sceptics aren’t just the largest crowd—they’re also a tough one, since they often view innovation negatively. FS firms need to work even harder to win them over and have them be truly engaged customers. And given that Sceptics aren’t highly engaged, that makes connecting with them even more difficult.

The local view

How does the global pattern fit in the Australian context? Unfortunately for Australian FS providers, many of the global findings apply here as well: Australian Sceptics are generally risk-averse, technology-averse and dissatisfied with their FS providers. Recognising recent scandals in the banking industry may have influenced this group’s outlook, it will be even more important for institutions to show they’re addressing these challenges—instilling more controls and putting more focus on positive outcomes for their customers.

Sceptics aren’t averse to looking around, they’re just a tricky mindset to crack for true engagement.

Sceptics represent a quarter of Australian respondents, which makes them less prevalent than the global average (25 percent versus 33 percent), and means they are slightly outnumbered by the 28 percent of respondents who fell into the (generally more satisfied) Pragmatist category. Broadly speaking, that’s a positive for Australian FS firms. Even still, major innovations in the Australian financial services industry, such as Open Banking, will need to be managed carefully to ensure that these consumers’ needs are met.

This is the key point to remember with Sceptics: They still have financial needs, just like every other mindset, so they’ll be willing to buy from a provider that can prove itself. Unlike other mindsets, they won’t be won over by novelty factors, and their starting position is more cynical, but clearly articulated features, a keen price-point, and no-nonsense branding will win over many Sceptics.

After all, although a high level of dissatisfaction doesn’t necessarily mean a customer will switch institutions, it does create opportunity for providers that can catch their attention with tempting offerings. Sceptics aren’t averse to looking around, they’re just a tricky mindset to crack for true engagement.


1 You can learn more about this in episode 14 of our podcast series on Embracing Tech in Financial Services: How Well Do You Really Understand Your Consumer? 

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