Author: Jerry Mulle
The tech giants have completely transformed customers’ expectations. Why do banks need to offer their customers similarly personalised, intuitive and engaging services?
There’s been much written recently about tech giants getting into banking.
Suggestions that banks are on a ‘collision course’ with Apple and Google or that banks see Amazon, Apple and Google as a growing threat are all over the media. But in reality it’s not the tech giants themselves but the new Google-like digital-only banks that pose the biggest threat. And if traditional banks don’t respond they’re going to be quickly left behind.
What good customer experience looks like
The experience consumers enjoy with the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple has reshaped their view on what good customer experience looks like. It’s not just the intuitive interfaces and compelling interactions that keep them coming back; anywhere-, anytime-access to information and seamless omni-channel journeys all ensure a consistent experience whenever and wherever they want to engage.
Consumers are putting their trust in these tech giants. They’re willing to share personal details that mean tech giants can deliver increasingly personalized and more relevant services.
Delivering the experience consumers want
Consumers don’t see traditional banks delivering similarly consumer-centric financial services. In response traditional banks must increase their investment in digital and direct their efforts to delivering a customer experience that can compete with those created in Cupertino or Mountain View.
But before they can tailor services to an individual customer’s requirements, banks need to learn more about that customer’s needs, desires and behaviours. Banks can do that by:
- Leveraging existing data. Supermarkets use store cards to predict life events like marriages and pregnancies, and banks that offer credit cards can do the same.
- Making full use of information shared on social media. Customers share their sentiments via social media and banks could learn a lot about what individual customers by making sure they use social media to listen and not just to broadcast.
- Asking the customer directly about their preferences, life events and managing their finances.
It’s not going to be easy
Asking customers directly isn’t as easy as it was in the past. Customers rarely sit down with their banks to review their financial needs so there isn’t that face-to-face opportunity.
What’s more, asking for personal information in the digital world is difficult, particularly for banks. Whereas consumers are happy to tell a retailer about their lives, they would be more likely to question why they should share that information with a bank.
And while consumers may get irritated by Google popping up adverts that clearly show it has been following their online activities, they might be taken aback if a bank did the same. Similarly if a bank were to send targeted marketing emails to customers based on information gleaned from their credit card statements, customers would question the bank’s behaviour.
After all, consumers expect banks to operate in a certain way: with integrity, transparency and honesty. As such, banks will need to seek permission before making use of customers’ personal information.
Partnerships surprise and delight customers
So how can banks be ‘more Google’?
Banks firstly need to get customers to share information beyond what they might normally expect to share. To make this happen banks must earn customers’ confidence that they will deliver real value in exchange for personal information.
Rather than simply telling loyal customers about the latest mortgage rates when they’re looking to move home, for example, offer them a better rate than is openly available. Or, better still, offer customers moving house a package that includes everything they will need – from help with rearranging utility services and redirecting post to removal and packing services.
By building partnerships with concierge services, estate agents, car manufacturers and more, banks can surprise and delight their customers in ways customers never thought possible.
Innovate you must
Banks may have a bigger mountain to climb than other industries when it comes meeting the new customer expectations that have been shaped by the tech giants, but climb that mountain they must.
With new digital-only banks already making inroads into market share and moulding customer expectations further, it’s now or never. As new entrants erode margins to extend their own innovation funds, their pace of change will only accelerate.
Are your investments in customer-centric banking enough to stave off the competition?