Why don’t your target customers want to join your bank? Because they’re not impressed.
Banks often sabotage their own attempts at success through their siloed, disjointed, out-of-touch, and unimpressive approaches to doing business that leave small-to-medium businesses, private wealth clients, upwardly mobile millennials, and even commercial customers underwhelmed by their service delivery.
Eliminating Customer Friction Must Be Your Guiding Policy
For 10 years, the rallying cry of the C-Suite has been “invest in technology to stay relevant.” The next 10 years must be defined by a singular, focused, and undeviating devotion to eliminating the friction of doing business with your institution.
Fixing customer friction will be challenging and expensive, but it will also offer the best return for your shareholders. Your bank must organize teams around this mission. Executives need to evaluate resource and budget requests against a simple criterion: How much friction will this reduce, compared to the cost of funding it? Every budget request should be accompanied by a detailed user story, a list of friction points, and a proposed solution that describes the customer experience. Every touchpoint is an opportunity to reinforce your brand as customer-friendly or customer-hostile. Your bank should move quickly through these three steps:
- Get aligned. Your bank needs support from your board, your C-suite and even your investors to pivot to this focus. Once you have the buy-in and mission statements crafted, it’s time to designate the priority projects.
- “Shovel-ready” projects come first. Rescore projects that were previously denied funding or resources because they were too difficult to execute or didn’t cross a financial hurdle on a simple 2×2 matrix that evaluates improvement in customer experience and reduced friction vs. cost and complexity to implement. The projects in the top-right corner should be your initial list of funded initiatives.
- Deliver quick wins and results that measurably drive customer engagement. This will define success for the next 10 years. Re-engineer how you extend customer offers and execute pricing for standard and relationship clients. Your investment in tech will pay off if you accelerate this function.
For a fast return on investment, examine how your bank prices on base versus relationship status and rewards customer behaviors. Segmenting customers into single-service households, small to medium-size businesses, commercial, or mass-market and tying rewards or pricing adjustments to their categories can mean the difference between retaining or losing target customers. One-size-fits-all pricing, or even pricing by geography, will leave customers feeling like they do today: you don’t understand them or price according to their life stage or needs.
Aim for high-frequency iterations so you can test and learn everything before you scale it. Imagine being able to execute 100 or more micro-campaigns and evergreen trigger-based offers annually, with multivariant testing. Drill down to specific customer personas, identify specific trigger events, and act on intelligence that demonstrates to your customers that your bank understands them.
Get in the habit of defining a user story, designing a process, and executing an offer or pricing schema in a sprint. I was astounded by how quickly banks moved on preparing their infrastructure to administer Paycheck Protection Program loans. Imagine being able to consistently move at that speed — without the associated late nights and headaches.
Lastly, installing an agile middleware layer will unshackle your bank from the months-long cycles required to code and test customer offers and fulfillment. High-speed, cloud-based offer management that crosses business lines and delivers omni-channel offer redemption will be a game-changer for your institution.
Installing a high-speed offer and pricing engine may seem like science fiction for your bank, but it’s not. It will require investments of time and money, coordinated efforts, and lots of caffeine. But the results will allow your financial institution to prove success, build a model and inspire your teams to get serious about bulldozing customer friction.
The financial rewards of executing better offers, engaging more customers, and delivering relevant, optimized pricing will give your bank the financial resources to remain independent while your competitors shop for merger partners.