Three in four global consumers haven't heard a thing from financial providers about crisis

More than 70 percent of global consumers say they have received no contact from their financial institutions regarding the financial crisis. The Boston Consulting Group's (BCG) survey of nearly 6,000 consumers (within six countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) found that many of those who had not been contacted would like to have discussions with their bankers, asset managers and insurers about what's going on; this includes 29 percent of consumers in the United States.

Consumers who did have contact from their financial provider reported much higher levels of satisfaction - in the United States, 83 percent of those contacted reported satisfaction versus 53 percent who received no contact. Therefore, BCG indicates, this year will provide great opportunity for consumer outreach.

"We're seeing the emergence of distinct consumer segments - each reacting differently to the crisis and displaying new behaviors in financial decision making," said Kilian Berz, a partner in BCG's Toronto office and head of its retail banking practice in the Americas in a press release. "In 2009, financial institutions should adapt their marketing and sales strategies to reflect the current situation much more directly than many have to date."

BCG's review in November and December 2008 of three major U.S. financial publications revealed most financial institutions had not updated their print ads to reflect on the crisis; however, effective outreach to consumers can take many forms aside from advertising, according to BCG:

"An institution's sales force is one of its best assets for increasing consumer confidence and providing valuable guidance to customers," said Heiko Franken, a Hamburg-based partner in the firm's Insurance practice. "Institutions need to ensure that the sales force is equipped to answer customers' questions and help reinforce the institution's brand and products today."

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