It’s only a matter of time until banking becomes as personal and customized as other services or retail experiences. This industry is quickly moving to seamlessly align its service offerings with customer needs and profiles and offer additional perks to boost loyalty.
Historically, the typical banking transaction – whether opening a long-term savings account or signing up for a mortgage – was managed directly through any given branch and with relatively limited choice for the customer to choose from. A set menu of options or services was presented with little variation depending on the customer profile.
Now, with an increasingly competitive market place and much more savvy customers, banks are being forced to rethink the “old standards” and start getting a little more creative, actually offering tailored programs that take the individual customer seriously.
Does this mean banks are going to actually start treating their customers with a little bit of humanity?!
I sure hope so.
The virtualization of finance
Retail or corporate, banks have reaped enormous benefits from the virtualization of finance and currency exchange – not to mention the global trading and the rapid expansion of markets. Financial institutions have equally responded by growing their offerings to cover all aspects of economic life. This is great for their business, but the obvious downside is rapidly diminishing trust in these institutions, fervent competition, and increasingly stringent regulations, particularly in Europe and France. So something needs to shift, and fast.
Proliferation of technology paired with almost constant Internet access has changed not only the way we consume and share information but how we consume goods and services as well. This trend (if we can still call it that) does not exclude our relationship and expectations of the banking industry.
Most of us connect remotely to check account balances, make an investment or transfer money. These actions have become second nature and most importantly, ones we manage independent of any need to visit the bank directly or connect with a live service employee. This is just the beginning.
Younger clientele are growing up taking these options for granted and with the movement towards servitization across industries, we are all coming to expect greater personalization of services in addition to simple conveniences.
Passive, trusting and grateful customers are making way for more demanding (rightfully so) populations who demand more transparency and tailored, personalized service. It’s no doubt that the newer online competitors have flourished on the web, enabling and empowering customers and being much quicker to respond to their growing needs. Each client feels (and is) unique and wants proof of that recognition in the form of via an “A La Carte” menu created specifically for them! I know I do.
Banking “A la carte”
To genuinely become service oriented, banks must look beyond the recognition of needing to evolve and embrace true business model transformation. From implementing the right IT and business support processes, to training their staff at all levels to begin thinking and acting as service providers it needs to get into the DNA of their business, not only their technology. The traditional (and yes, I’ll say it, stiff and uninviting) customer approach must be forgotten in favor of an “à la carte” one, where the customer sits at the heart of their strategy.
With the proper technology and strategy realignments, a 360 degree real-time view of customer behavior is enabled, including changes to profile, day-to-day transactions, overall loyalty and asset performance. Naturally this needs to be responded to in a personalized fashion but also rewarded to increase satisfaction and retention. These changes can’t happen fast enough if banks want to stay competitive and be successful. Honestly, if the meal at my local restaurant isn’t satisfying me anymore and there are a few more restaurants down the road that promise tasty choices at a better price – you can bet I’m going to try them out. So why wouldn’t I apply the exact same customer prerogative with my bank? Well, the answer is I would and I’m guessing so would you.