June 2023 UK Banking App Rankings and Insights Session

Executive Summary:

This session highlighted the issues faced by the NatWest banking app following a recent app release which significantly impacted customer experience.

Touchpoint Group uses the Ipiphany software to analyse customer feedback and scores to provide valuable insights into how banking apps can improve their services.

Before the app update, NatWest was consistently performing well, maintaining an Engaged Customer Score over 4.5. However, following a significant update in June, its performance dropped drastically, reflecting the customers' dissatisfaction. The sudden change in scores and rise in negative sentiment emphasises the importance of constant monitoring and quick responsiveness to customer feedback.

After the June update, there were no reported reliability problems. However, NatWest faced a spike in usability issues, which led to a decline in scores. The feedback identified issues with the user interface (UI), such as increased app difficulty, confusing layout, and complex banking functions. For instance, a once simple process such as money transfer now reportedly requires more steps, adding unnecessary complexity and causing user frustration.

Although functionality issues only increased by 1.9 percentage points, certain subtopics within this category, like the money transfer feature, saw an approximate doubling of problems. Feedback again pointed towards the app's complexity and confusion following the update.

While NatWest may have believed the app update was beneficial, the negative feedback suggests otherwise. It highlights the need to constantly monitor customer feedback, assess whether observed issues are temporary or long-term, and make adjustments accordingly.

Looking at the wider UK banking app landscape, while Lloyds Bank consistently leads, the challenger banks such as Monzo and Monese are falling behind the pack. Starling Bank, despite a slight recent drop, has maintained a strong position, while Metrobank and Atombank have shown promising improvements.

To summarise, the recent update of NatWest’s app highlights the importance of continuous customer feedback monitoring and the need for quick, strategic responses to ensure a satisfactory user experience. Despite the significant drop in scores due to usability issues, the bank can recover its position by taking customer feedback into account, addressing the identified concerns and ensuring future updates enhance user experience instead of complicating it.

Video Transcript:

Glenn Marvin (00:00.934)
And welcome back to yet another Touchpoint Group banking app insight session and we're looking at the UK category for the month of June. Now normally we talk a lot around how you can use Ipiphany and Touchpoint Group to really look at some of the trends in your app performance, look at the customer feedback you're getting and help you plan and strategise in regards to the improvements that you can make in your app to give that better experience. However...

Looking at June we thought we would give you a little bit of an insight into some of these short-term pain point things that can be focused on.

Looking at Nat West who have just had an app release that has had quite a significant impact on the experience that the customers are having and if they're monitoring this on a day-by-day basis You could nip things in the bud and roll things back and make it a lot better faster.

Tony - I've talked far too long and you're much better at this, I'm gonna hand it over to you.

Tony Patrick (01:02.418)
Brilliant, thanks, Glenn. Yeah, so today we'll look at the UK categories and a particular focus on NatWest, as Glenn said. So let's just jump in and see what the status is in terms of the scoring. So let's have a look. So this scoring here is what we call our Engage customer score. So these are customers in the app store and Android store who've given both a score and a comment. So every movement you see here, we know exactly why that's happened because there's a comment attached to it. So let's have a brief look here.

One of the things we can see is that Lloyds is consistently ahead. But one of the things that happened recently was NatWest jumped up and was really hitting up against it. Basically, it was solidly competing up at that level, at that high sort of four and a half and above level. But what we can see there is in June, it's dropped away. So that just shows even if you're doing really well, it doesn't take much for you to drop off the edge in terms of these scores.

So let's have a look and we'll review that in the moment to see why that's happened. Just have another look at what's happened to these other banks, the challenger banks in a sense. Let's have a look what's going on here. Now briefly we see things like the likes of Monzo and Monese are sitting below the sort of the pack in a sense, they're continuously below that. One of the things we do see though is the top was reasonably, you know, Starling seemed to own that fairly easily at the top there across the past year or so.

But what we can see now is that they've dropped slightly in the past few months. the likes of Metrobank and the likes of Atombank have actually picked up and they're at that top level. So that's something interesting to follow next month to see can those banks maintain that level the way Starling has. So let's just step forward and have a look at the situation for NatWest. So obviously the scales changed here. So they're doing...

They're still doing reasonably well at above four, so it's really good, except they haven't maintained that high level they had previously. So really good improvement in November, but it dropped away in June, as we can see there. Let's understand what's happened here. So first of all, what I'm looking at now is what we call our SURF analysis. So this is looking at pain points. These are all problems. We want these lines to be as low as possible is the goal.

And these are across four key areas around security and authentication, so logging in, usability, so being able to use the app like UI issues and things like that, reliability, which is fairly obvious in that sense, and functionality issues as well. One of the things that's very clear in June as to what's happened is usability issues have jumped up. Now, with that app release in June, we can see it's not, there's no reliability problems. They haven't really increased. They've remained fairly steady.

Usability problems have jumped up. Let's understand that in more detail. So what I'm looking at here is looking at those same measures day by day. And what I can see is that basically on June the 22nd, we can see a big jump up in what's going on. And so that's really interesting. We see June the 22nd, that big release there. And we actually know that they released that on June the 21st. So the next day, we're getting this really, really big spike in feedback.

And that hasn't changed things at the end of the month either. So have a think about this, though. The score for NatWest has dropped for the month, reasonably substantially. But it's only because of that last week of June. So this continues into July. We're going to see even a bigger decrease. Let's have a look at what else is happening in here. So this is looking at the release cycle. And one of the things I want to look at here is each of these releases leading up to that June release.

The average score is 4.5, so they're really, really strong. So each of these releases, four and a half. This next one, four and a half. The next one, 4.4. This release, though, is where things happen. It's 3.6. So that's that drop we saw, was because of release 7.31.

Tony Patrick (05:07.078)
So let's understand what's happened. So why has it gone down? What's going on here? So first of all, we see a few things going on. We talked about a few of them in here, which is things like usability is the main thing that's happened. So let's look at that. One of the things I can see in here is there's broad things like app difficulty use and things like that. But one of the things I can have a look at here is that poor user interface has jumped from around 0.8% to 2%. So let's have a look at that. So on the right panel.

When that comes up, what we can see is, even this person that gave a fall, recent update actually makes the app harder to navigate, don't like the new layout. So that's interesting. We can see some comments coming through here, what's going on. What I can also do, which is a new sort of a beta feature we're actually trying with some of our clients, is actually I can query this.

I can actually, rather than having to read through it and understand what's going on, I can query this and actually get us to, I can ask a question like this.

I can ask that list the top three issues and include a representative comment with each. I can actually ask you the nice open question, and what I can do then is get a summary of what's going on.

So very quickly, I can see things about the user interface. So first of all, the recent update makes the app harder to navigate and is a step backwards in terms of easy views as simple banking functions. The layout's confusing and difficult to use, especially transferring money.

Also the new update is not user friendly and is difficult to navigate. So clearly these are three related issues about that update that's happened as well. So let's step forward and look at another area, which is around this area of functionality.

Now functionality, we looked at usability jumped up by 6 percentage points as more and more problems. What I can see here is that functionality has only gone up by 1.9. So you might think, well, that's not a problem. But there's subtopics in there where it might be a problem.

So I look in here, so overall it hasn't gone that badly, except that in here we're seeing a few things like poor at money transfer feature, it's actually gone from around 1.5 to 2.9. So it's basically doubled, doubled in problems, and what I can do here is a similar thing that we did previously, I can actually query those comments coming through. I could review the examples myself as well, but I can query that, understand the biggest, the top three issues, and I can see here there's a complicated transfer process.

So basically, it's more of a problem than it was previously. "After the new update, I rate this app as zero before I could easily transfer and pay someone now. Now I need to do 100 steps. Obviously exaggerating, but the step numbers have increased to actually do some basic things"

Difficulty in transferring between accounts and confusing UI changes. It makes transferring monies now more awkward. So customers don't understand what's happened. So...

Obviously, one of the things about this is to watch it as it goes. Because obviously, any change in an app, if you've done all the back work, you've made that change, and you're confident it's actually better for customers, you need to wait this out.

You don't need to change it straight away, but also you need to be on top of it. You need to be watching what's going on.

Is this a long-term issue, or are customers getting a happier experience as time goes on? So let's have a quick look at these particular things we had a look at before. So poor usability and poor money transfer.

We can see they picked up when that new app was released. And we can see there it's hit that 22nd, 23rd of June and actually picked up. And to reiterate, this problem across the last week of June has caused these issues. It's looking at it day by day across June. And we can actually see the impact of that in the score. So this reasonably solid 4.25 to 4.5, but a big drop on that 22nd, 23rd, down to around 3.25. So, NatWest need to watch this and see if it's going to stick with customers or it's going to be an ongoing problem. Thank you, Glenn.

Glenn Marvin (09:03.95)
Thanks for that Tony and I think an interesting point out of that is you can wait for your CX team to survey your clients and your customers. And if you do that, it may be too late. This is taken from pretty much real time feedback. Those customers are actually commenting every single day in those app stores and giving you real time feedback that you can leverage. Yet again, another great insight session. Thank you so much Tony and we'll look forward to the next one.