For younger customers, the relationship with their bank, like with most large tech companies, is through their phone. Young customers don’t even think about the people behind the service. As long as it’s working.
Given this reality you have two choices.
- Embrace the anonymous service provider model of Google, Microsoft, Facebook and most big tech companies. Go for scale, low costs, and state-of-the-art digital services. Offer robo-savings, automated chat bots, and self-service. Hire great programmers.
- Go in the other direction. Humanize your service by inviting customers to connect with people at your financial institution, either in person (traditional banking model, also used by Apple with its hardware) or through chat services (Amazon). Optimize around people and connections with the customer. Have new customers in for a chat, invest in social networking and custom interfaces. Hire great account reps.
It’s easier to stay anonymous. You avoid all those messy interactions with customers. But it may be harder to gain loyalty, cross sales and referrals as a no-name service provider. Another concern on the credit side, is whether that anonymity comes at a price in terms of higher loan defaults?
Building a human connection can cement customers possibly for generations, but has higher costs in terms of staffing, customer service, and brick and mortar investment.
Either way is a legitimate strategy. But you need to choose.
Author: Jim Bruene is Founder & Senior Advisor to Finovate as well as
Principal of BUX Advisors, a financial services UX consultancy.