Oct 2023 UK Banking App Rankings and Performance Insights

 Executive Summary: Insights into UK Banking Apps - October 2023 



The October 2023 Touchpoint Group UK Banking App Insight Session led by Glenn Marvin and Tony Patrick focused on analysing the performance of the NatWest and Nationwide banking apps. While NatWest experienced continued decline, Nationwide hit its lowest performance point in the past twelve months. This decline was primarily attributed to a recent logo change and specific events in early October. 


 Analysis of the Engaged Customer Score: 

- The Engaged Customer Score, derived from app store reviews on both iOS and Android platforms, serves as a valuable source of detailed user feedback and insights into app performance.

- NatWest encountered a dip in its score back in June due to a new update, a typical occurrence in app development cycles. The expected recovery period is approximately two to three months.

- However, NatWest's recovery was inconsistent, with a dip observed again in September and further issues emerging in October.

- Nationwide's Engaged Customer Score reached its lowest point over the past year, primarily driven by a significant surge in Design and User Interface (UI) problems, doubling from a score of three and a half to seven.


 Identification of Key Pain Points: 

- Four critical areas exert a significant influence on app scores: Authentication, Reliability and Stability, Features and Functionality, and Design and UI.

- The Design and UI problems initially exhibited a spike but exhibited signs of improvement as users adapted to the changes.

- A notable spike in Reliability and Stability issues emerged towards the end of September, extending into October, consequently impacting Features and Functionality.

- Authentication issues also experienced an increase, further compounding user frustrations.

- The anticipated improvement in design and UI did not materialise as expected, hinting at lingering unresolved issues.


 Impact of the Release Cycle: 

- Delving into NatWest's release cycle, the feedback revealed that Reliability issues began with version 7.34 and persisted with version 7.35.

- Both these versions recorded lower scores compared to their predecessors, despite showing positive trends before the issues surfaced.

- The persistence of design and UI issues defied the anticipated recovery trend.


 The Influence of Nationwide's Logo and Design Change: 

- Nationwide's Engaged Customer Score plummeted from 4.4 to 3.8 due to issues related to the introduction of a new logo and design.

- Post the logo change, Design and UI problems experienced a two-fold increase, with users finding the alterations confusing and struggling to distinguish the colour scheme.

- User interface was critically described by customers as "basic, dull, and outdated."

- User feedback and comments accentuated users' displeasure with the new logo and design, with more than a third of comments referencing these issues.

- The most substantial impact occurred on the 7th of October when the score witnessed a drastic drop.


 Key Takeaways: 

- There is a recurring theme that changes in Design and UI have an instantaneous impact on user feedback.

- Recommendations included proactively informing users about impending changes to familiarise them with the app's new visual and navigational elements.

- Banks are encouraged to effectively manage customer expectations to mitigate negative feedback and ensure smooth transitions during updates.

Video Transcript: October 2023 UK Banking App Insights Session



00:05 - Glenn: Welcome back to another Touchpoint Group Banking App Insights session. We are looking at the UK market for October 2023 and we've got two banks that we'll primarily be focusing on in this session, NatWest. Now, we thought that they had bottomed out in September, but the decline has continued. So a quick look at why we'll move on to Nationwide.


Now, Nationwide has dropped to the lowest point in the last twelve months. Now, there's a mix of contributing factors. The new logo is one of them and the 7th of October is a defining date. Then Tony Patrick will reveal all.


00:49 Tony Patrick: Brilliant. Thank you, Glenn. Yeah, we'll get into the detail. We can show exactly those things you mentioned. So let's have a look at first of all, the scores. Now, for those familiar with this, you'll know what this score is. This is the Engaged Customer Score. This is the score coming from the app stores IOS and Android. 


And what this is, though, is the score, which is the Engaged Customer Score. So those giving both a score and a comment, that gives us some really detailed information, we can see subtle movements, and for every movement in here, we know exactly why it's happened, which is why we can understand what's happening today.


So one of the things we're looking at today is NatWest.


We saw NatWest drop away in June because of that new update. Now, that's common. You make an update, there's changes. Customers aren't used to that change, but you expect that to turn around. Generally, best practice is two to three months. You should be getting back to where you were.


But what's happened? We saw a bit of a turnaround in August and in September it sort of flattened again. So what was going to happen? I did expect a bit of a turnaround, but up things happen in October. And another one here on the same page is looking at Nationwide.


So Nationwide is at the lowest point it's been in the past year. So. What's happened there? What have they done in that space?


Let's have a look first at some other apps. This is looking at some others sitting here. Just an update of what's happening. Both Monzo and Monese are sort of at the bottom there. We've got Monese actually hitting a low point below two, but I'll clear those away so we can get our scale going in here.


And there's been some general increases in here. We can see, like Starling doing very well. Revolute is improving but flattened out at about 4.2. So doing pretty positively there. Let's move on about the two. The two we wanted to cover off. Let's move into those because that's important.


This NatWest drop and also the nationwide drop there, let's focus first on that NatWest drop, what actually happened.


What I'm showing you here, there's a lot going on here, but first of all, let's have a look at, we're looking at, these are pain points. We want these things to be as low as possible. So when they spike up, that's a bad thing and that influences your score.


So this is why the score has been moving around. We've got four key areas at the bottom which are the biggest drivers of these app scores, Authentication, so logging in, Reliability and Stability, Features and Functionality and Design and UI. So Design and UI we did see that spike we've talked about that before, that's the issues happening with that new release. 


We saw a nice slide away -this is week by week, we saw a nice slide away in issues as customers got used to the app. But we saw that score drop down in October and at the end of September into October we saw something happen here massive spike in Reliability and Stability issues and as a consequence of that, we're seeing things like Features and Functionality issues. So that rolls through into "I tried to do something with a particular feature and it broke" so they're connected to each other. 


We also see though Authentication issues have jumped up so it's not just about Reliability issues across the app it's actually logging in is a problem for some customers as well. And also design and UI has not followed that same downward path we were expecting.


Clearly some problems have happened in there. 


So let's have a look at the Release Cycle here. So what we're seeing here is actually, this is week by week across here, this is looking at NatWest. So week by week, what does the feedback look like? And then down the side, we've got the app release from the most recent at the top, that's at 7.35, all the way down to 7.32.


So we saw about middle to the end of September is when those Reliability issues hit. So 7.34 is when it first hit. And we see the score there, 3.4 is lower than the scores behind it. And similarly for 7.35, the score is lower. So both of these hit sort of mid to the end of September and then into October are causing that issue.


So both versions of this app, I won't dive in too much detail on this because I want to focus on something else for the moment. So it's interesting, though. That these releases can cause such an issue when they were going on such a nice trajectory and sort of turning things around a bit.


But let's move into having a look here at actually something interesting. This is now focusing on... -I'll just show you here, this is now focusing on Nationwide. 


So the two of the things looking at today. So Nationwide is the second one. What we're seeing though, is that score drops. This is reflecting that same score we saw in the charts previously, going from 4.4 to 3.8.


And 3.8, as we mentioned, is the lowest they've been across the past year. So what happened? And this is a nice quick diagnostic. We're seeing here this across these four areas, only one of them really increased Reliability, Stability increased slightly, but we see here Design and UI has basically doubled from about three and a half up to seven. So it's doubled in that. So not a major thing at the moment, but something to watch out for.


So one of the things we can see though, on the right when we do an AI summary of the design and UI issues we can see clearly here there are user interface issues. So many users find the new logo and design of the app confusing.


There's been a launch of a new app with that new logo design and it's not coming through well for many customers. So we can see here that it's confusing and hard to find. The colour scheme is not well received, with some finding it difficult to distinguish from other banking apps.


The user interface is described as "basic, dull and dated". This is customers saying this, by the way. And clearly some problems coming through and one of the things we can also see, if I even go to actual comments, let's just go to some comments in here, is I can see here even someone has given a five "I do not like the new look", "The UI is basic and uninspired", "Design is horrible, the layout is dull..." So there's some issues there with clearly with that design that's come through with that new logo as well. 


So let's move forward a bit and just have a look at this day by day. So when did this happen? So this happened on the 7th of October. That's when the score dropped dramatically there. So something has happened at that point, but it has moved up. So it's not something that seems like it's going to maintain itself, has moved up, but I want to see that into November. But let's have a look though at what happened then.


Now what we found was this has come from version 38.0 sitting here and that time we saw that drop has come through exactly at that point there when this 38.0 was launched. So that's that new design with the new logo and the new layout, and that's what's happened with here.


We can see the score has dropped from around 4.5 level down to four and 39.1 has continued that as well. It's lower than it was before. So clearly some things to have a think about for Nationwide. I don't think they're going to change their logo based on this but it's clearly some problems.


But let's have a look though at another little thing here we can do, is look at mentions of the app logo and the app icon and we can see they spiked exactly at that time when this came out. And in fact, there's one day there where we see that more than a quarter of the mentions of all the comments coming through for Nationwide were about the logo.


So that's very interesting. And then there's another 8% there sitting there talking about the icon. So a mix of things there. So we're getting up to more than a third of comments coming through about this particular thing. And you can see it's dropped away, though. Mentions of that day by day it's dropping away.


So this should move away over time. But clearly on the right there, there's a lot of feedback coming through about- It's not just about just talking about it, it's saying many users express dislike for the new logo. It's similar to NatWest as one example. And the logo change has an impact on app recognition from their perspective. There's some positive feedback, as it says here. This quick summary is saying the majority of the feedback, there are a few. Users who liked it, but most didn't like it. 


So we'll see how that progresses across time because this is obviously a major change for Nationwide, and they want uptake from customers to do very well.


So thank you, Glenn.


09:08 - Glenn Marvin: Yeah, it's another great example of Design and UI changes having an immediate impact on feedback from customers. And we've seen it time and time again, haven't we Tony? Where those changes happen, there is pushback around the visuals and maybe the navigation, and it is an education process over time, but also highlights the opportunity around maybe preloading and warming those customers up to changes that they may be coming in the app before rolling them out.


We'll look forward to seeing you again next month and if you want to talk to us about your bank, feel free to sing out and we can organise a deep-dive session just looking at your app or your competitors.