From this side of the Atlantic, the European Union (EU) can seem like a weird thing—most of us aren’t exactly sure when it started, how far it stretches or even what it exactly is. What we do know is that it’s a case study in constant evolution: It dates back to at least the ’50s, when six nations formed the European Coal and Steel Community and, later, the European Economic Community. However, the current European Union actually takes its name and primary structure from the Maastricht Treaty of 1993. The monetary union, the source of the Euro, was born in 1999; the constitutional basis for the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, arrived 10 years later; and countries are still joining (Croatia became a member only last year).
PFM (Personal Financial Management) has been in the market for more than a decade now. In its early days PFM didn’t receive much attention from the market. Then, after Mint.com’s success, PFM was resurrected.
Since that time, various research findings confirmed that users are ready to embrace PFM. The market got the signal. Many analysts and digital channel managers believed that PFM was the next big thing in online banking and that it would be adopted by banks in a very short time. In 2010, Online Banking Report even quoted that: “Personal Finance Management (PFM) functionality is the highest potential ROI project for retail financial institutions to implement”.
“One of our problems is our long-term employees”, said a banker to me. I have heard this so often that it probably applies to a significant percentage of Jeff For Banks readers. In an era of unprecedented industry change, if your employees embrace change like a cat embraces water, you might have a Problem.
In my life, I have experience in two industries: banking and the US military. Well, I’ve also been in the newspaper business (paper boy), a top chef (Mickey Dee’s), gasoline distribution (Hess boy), and food service (college caf worker). But I wouldn’t exactly call a job designed to earn beer money or to bolster my eight track tape collection experiences worth reflecting on. Note the paper boy gig was not for beer money.
Today’s world of instant gratification is driving a paradigm shift of customer service for financial institutions, where expectations are formed by firms like Apple, Zappos, Disney and Southwest Airlines.
Consumer expectations are being formed by service experiences outside of the financial services industry, where content, interactions, and features are rich, delivering an engaging and rewarding experience.
We are experiencing a customer service paradigm shift. Unlike any other time in history, today’s informed consumer is in the driver’s seat and holds the power to buy or not buy from a business depending on their experience with a product or service. Consumer expectations are shaped by the customer service they encounter across all industries, and they are accustomed to intuitive and easy to use products, positive human and virtual interactions, and getting what they want when they want it.
Banks have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the vast amounts of customer insight they hold to go beyond simply facilitating payments. They can reinvent themselves as an Everyday Bank, helping customers reach decisions about what to buy, when and where to purchase, and even helping to negotiate the best deals in a ubiquitous format.
Best-in-class bank and credit union onboarding goes beyond just a mailing or a phone call. To drive engagement with new customers, offline and online channels must be optimized in a sequence and cadence of touches that reduces attrition and improves profitability.
Once banks crack the code on how to deliver a better experience to customers, they will position themselves to seize phenomenal opportunities to engage with customers.
As banks look for new revenue opportunities, they have to focus on existing customers because new ones are hard to come by. But even trying to increase business with the existing base is a big challenge because banks have made interaction with customers too complicated and frustrating.