While the report is not specific to the financial services industry, it has several key takeaways that are equally applicable.
As the world rolls out robo-advice, fintech, regtech and insurtech – to name but a few innovations – clients are apparently calling for greater human contact.
New technology tools are tantalising and sometimes necessary, but 59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the customer experience.
Like all tools, technology can be harmful if wielded improperly.
The advent of RDR has created an advice gap in the UK that has yet to be filled. Many believe robo-advice is the solution, a mass-market answer to meet the needs of people who have small pots of money and (typically) uncomplicated financial situations.
But even as technology improves and automation becomes more prevalent, consumers still want to talk to a person when things go wrong.
Only 3% of US consumers, for exampled, want their experience to be as automated as possible.
Use in moderation
In a separate PwC report, only 47% of executives said they understand clearly how robotics and AI will improve customer experience.
A significant proportion of executives are therefore potentially pursuing a tech strategy because they feel they have to – not because they see how technology can improve their contact with clients.
Online systems, phone apps and video chats are all tools advisers can use to interact with clients and keep them better informed.
The message from the PwC report is that consumers want the benefits of technology but they value a personal relationship.
As the report states: “Good customer experience minimises friction, maximises speed and efficiency and maintains a human element, embedded within the automation, AU or other technologies.
“This leaves consumers feeling heard, seen and appreciated. It has a tangible impact that can be measured in dollars and cents.”
PwC surveyed a representative sample of 15,000 people from 12 countries, via an online survey and in-field interviews.
Four thousand respondents were from the US and the remaining 11,000 were from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and the UK.