Posts Tagged ‘banks’
I love the quote from Henry Ford: “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘a faster horse.’’ I love it so much I’ve used in my past two webinars.
And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m using it again here. Obviously.
But who hasn’t relied on customer surveys and focus groups to guide future decisions? The problem is that customers don’t realize the full realm of possibilities. Certainly customers can provide feedback on the user experience – what they like, what they don’t like, whether a product fits their needs, etc. But it’s incredibly difficult for customers to provide anything beyond “tactical” information.
Some of the most significant product developments have been brought about by applying new technologies to our everyday life. Which customer suggested getting money from a hole in the wall as a way to improve the banking experience? When Netscape first became available, which customer requested online access to bank accounts and as a way to pay bills? When cell phones became mainstream, which customer suggested it would be great if they could get their email on it AND deposit checks with it?
I know it wasn’t me. I suggest things like better account management.
I like – no, love – the Apple approach. Specifically the Seven Principles of Innovation. While I think everyone can find relevance in all the principles, I think three of them are particularly relevant to financial services.
- Principle #4 – Sell Dreams, Not Products: Think differently about your customers
- Principle #6 – Create Insanely Great Experiences: Think differently about your brand experience
- Principle #7 – Master the message: Think differently about your story.
Much has been written about Steve Jobs’ approach – there’s no shortage of blogs, articles and books detailing the approach. The reality is that few – if anyone – will be able to replicate the approach. But I do think it can challenge banks to do better.
Everyone is well served to think differently and of course, every company wants their customer to have insanely great experiences. At least I hope that’s the goal. And finally, there’s no harm in thinking differently about the message customers get about the bank.
My colleague, Susan Menke, has written about the fact that banks need to stop promoting rates, fees, products and services and focus on what the customer really wants. And in my last webinar, I spoke about how banks tend to market based on the number of branches and ATMs available. Mintel research indicates that customers visit a branch 1.76 times a month and an ATM 1.95 times per month. That’s a lot of marketing for something customers do less than 4 times a month.
But in this day and age, who needs an ATM? It seems like as long as you have your phone, you’re set. You can check balances, pay bills, or transfer money, deposit checks, email a friend money, and even pay bills through remote capture.
And if Google has their way –which they often do –your phone will become your wallet. If you’re thinking that the Google wallet is a far-off vision, I’m not so sure. With all the great new tools out there, does The Bank With the Most ATMs really win? Or is it about services, benefits, features and customer service? Because in the end, those are the things that instill customer loyalty.
My intention is to challenge the wisdom of doing things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done.
How do you establish customer loyalty when the main reason people bank with you is simply out of convenience? It’s this type of thing that has commoditized banking and eroded customer loyalty.
Banks talk about relationships. But I have a sneaking suspicion that relationship really means number of accounts. Isn’t a relationship more about a great experience and loyalty? In my book, it is… So what does that mean for bank marketing?
Like all parents I teach my kids to always tell the truth. Honesty is important. Very important. At the most basic level, if you always tell the truth, you don’t have to worry about remembering what you said. On another level, if you always tell the truth, then people will trust you in the future, accepting your word at face value. And of course, it’s nice to be able to look yourself in the mirror at night and know you did the right thing.
The media headlines these days are filled with tales of corporate dishonesty. The list is long, and the transgressions differ. But it all boils down to the same thing…important people who wielded an incredible amount of power have lied. Bernie Madoff. Eliot Spitzer. Jeffery Skilling. Kenneth Lay. Arthur Anderson. And for those of you in the tri-state area, Eddie Antar.
These days corporations seem to disclose things in itty bitty print buried in a revised terms and conditions document. My bank did this to me recently. They started charging me for online banking. (I mean seriously. They WANT me to do online banking. It makes me a loyal customer, remember?) I am sure they sent me a notice that I missed somehow.
Regardless, I don’t feel like they looked me in the eye and stated, “Susan, based on the type of checking account you have, we must charge you $4.95 per month to pay your bills online.” Turns out that the type of account that I opened, about 8 mergers ago, was no longer available and wasn’t eligible for free online bill pay.
However, based on my activity, and my relationship with my bank, I do qualify for free online bill payment. The bank had to “upgrade” the type of account I had, which from my perspective meant that they just had to change the name of the account. I’d feel much better about my bank if they had more proactively reached out to me and suggested some changes. Honestly.
Perhaps if banks would clearly and simply state what they are doing, customers would trust them more. After all, isn’t it about the customer?
In a recent blog post I mentioned that I didn’t feel as though I had a relationship with my bank. Instead we have a “transactional history.” To figure out how my bank can really help me, I’ve started talking to various people about what it is I want from my bank. (My colleagues are interested. My friends and family think I am a bit crazy.)
I really need my bank to offer me services and products that will Keep My Life Running Smoothly. For me that means keeping me organized and on top of things. I struggle with organization. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. And with a husband, an elderly dog that requires almost weekly trips to the vet, three young kids, a job, and 10 caterpillars that I’m raising to become mature, independent adult butterflies, I need all the help I can get.
In my statistically non-valid sample, I’ve determined that most people can use help in getting more organized. Except for my neighbor. She is a natural organizer. In fact, it’s what she does for a living. She is starting a project for me this weekend, so hopefully by next week I will be a Truly Organized Person.
And that brings me back to What I Want From By Bank. I think there are a lot of things that banks could do that they are not currently doing, but would greatly help customers – specifically me. So here’s my wish list:
1. I want all my bills sent to my bank electronically.
2. I want a calendar that shows when they are due.
3. I want emails to remind me to pay a bill.
4. I want budgeting ability.
5. I want to track special things like my Christmas spending and how much I spend on my kids’ birthday parties.
6. I want remote deposit.
7. Sometimes I want to do it all through an app on my phone.
8. Other times I want to be able to do it on my computer.
9. Ideally my phone and my computer would sync everything together for me.
My bank will probably say that all this is impossible. But I know it is possible, because other banks are doing it. For example, First Internet Bank of Indiana allows customers to have all their bills sent to the bank. I know this because a friend of mine has an account with them. She is amazed that my large, national bank doesn’t provide the same type of service. To make sure I wasn’t missing something, I double checked my banks’ website. If they provide the service, I certainly can’t find it.
We all know that USAA has an iPhone app that allows remote deposit. Bank of America allows remote deposit through a scanner. (Industry experts are expecting the bank to launch its own remote deposit app for phones, given some public comments made by the CEO.) I think all banks should offer remote deposit.
Then I found out that Zion’s bank offers a great budgeting tool called eZBudget. The tool allows anyone (not just customers) to set up monthly, project, event and gift budgets. For some reason banks don’t seem to be eager to move into this space and they’re letting outside players such as Mint.com own online budgeting.
So, I don’t really want a “relationship” with my bank. I have relationships with the people in my life, not the businesses. Instead, I want to be treated as a valued customer and be offered the products and services that help me manage my financial life.