Digital banking: What customers really want is what matters

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Empathetic banking is understanding and knowing what customers want, not just reducing the number of clicks on opening an account.

Recently, we have been seeing interesting stats on how quick it is to open a new account. This is the issue with our industry today – we think that certain areas such as this are key, when in the overall context of banking, they just aren’t.

We need to take the outside-in approach and realize what customers actually want, not what we think customers want, from the Inside-out industry viewpoint.

Account opening should be simple, but it is not the reason customers choose to bank with a certain bank – much in the same way that the time it takes for your new car to be delivered is not why you buy a certain model. There are so many factors that go into this choice; you research and choose that car based on affordability, value, style, social influence, availability, performance, servicing, and brand.

Banking is no different. Our customers deserve value, choice, and performance and these are drivers to why they chose to open an account. It’s not just because it takes 32 clicks rather than 59 clicks.

We focus on account-opening clicks, as it’s what we look at from an Industry-in viewpoint. We know how to fix it and think it’s really important. What is really important is offering more than just “vanilla banking,” where all accounts look so similar “me-too” in the age of digital banking seems to be becoming much more prevalent.

Offering customers the same looking accounts, with similar features and little value is not how we drive engaged and loyal customers. If we take the car industry analogy again – it used to be about speed, style, and safety, and then the finish, and then the interior. Now, it’s more about sustainability and the environmental impact. These are all important features, but they have been “dialed-up” in different points over the years and they add value to the customer.

Banking should provide all of these, yet we focus on something like the opening of an account. It’s really about security, simplicity, the experience, the ongoing engagement, the nudges, the feel-good, the brand, and above all, the experience. It’s about the design, the simplicity, the UI, and the actual customer service experience being provided, be it within an app, over the phone, or at the branch (yes, some people still like to use them, post-Covid lockdown that is).

Provide a customer value for their money, in a simple and easy way to manage and they are happy. It’s not that hard.

Let’s get back to what matters. What customers really want is what matters.

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