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The Revolution Will Not Be Commoditized

Posted By Addison Hoover, NCR, GM, Branch Transformation Marketing, Americas, Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This is not about ATMs. This is not about mobile apps. This is not about branches, recyclers, interest rate offerings, or eMarketing campaigns.

The banking revolution is all about the consumer.

Although its virtues have been espoused in the retail industry for over the last decade, banking is now becoming acutely aware of a dramatic paradigm shift. We’re no longer in a world where consumers rely on banks – rather, banks are more reliant than ever on their consumers.

With technology has come access, with access has come knowledge, and with knowledge has come empowerment; consumers today have the ability to choose how and where they prefer to be served, and, most importantly, the ability to choose which vendor will serve them based on those terms.

This is a scary proposition for a number of institutions. However, serving this generation of consumers doesn’t need to be a guessing game.

At an individual level, each end user is forming expectations on how they’re served, not by industry, but throughout their daily lives. The most astute technology companies and financial institutions are actively monitoring these points of engagement within the retail, travel, and hospitality industries. Each of these lines of businesses is distinctively molding their physical and digital customer experience strategies, and in turn, rapidly affecting the preferences and expectations of financial consumers everywhere. 

"They will be the banks and credit unions that craft the next generation of full service, augment the interplay of delivery channels, and create intimacy and personalized relationships with their consumers." 

As the paradigm has gone from banking to consumer, to consumer to banking (C2B), it is ever more important we stay in sync to these expectations, and understand that the next generation of banking tools is going to be much different than before. The answers for how to engage with a customer won’t be as easy as throwing more intelligent deposit ATMs in a branch, or delivering a segregated mobile app, or building a location with flashy fixtures or indistinct digital signage.  

Luckily, if we look around we can quickly identify the myriad megatrends businesses are employing and consumers are adopting. Whether it’s video-assisted service from Amazon via a tablet or Hertz over a kiosk, or mobile transactions impacting architectural design and consumer choreography at Chipotle or Delta, or beacon and self-service mobile technology in an Apple store – the mental models for customer expectations are already being curated across a diverse suite of daily interactions. The expectations forming in parallel channels are actively going to show which tools need to be utilized by financial institutions as the banking revolution continues. And when used correctly, the final product is going to be a seamless, enhanced experience, which better serves the end user on their terms.

Institutions that understand this – and work with solution providers in tune with the end user’s comprehensive expectations – will be best positioned to help abstract transactions from isolated channels, tailor a consistent tone and voice, and synchronize experiences across their digital and physical footprints.

They will be the banks and credit unions that craft the next generation of full service, augment the interplay of delivery channels, and create intimacy and personalized relationships with their consumers.

Those institutions that eschew these meaningful guideposts will be approaching the banking revolution with an outdated toolset of commoditized, ingredient technologies, leaving consumers with no choice but to head to greener pastures.

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