Strategy, Creative and Curious
The word ‘experience’ has embedded itself into lexicon of life, as a way of describing how we humans interact with the world around us. What drives this? Is it because we are needy and insecure? Yes, but that has always been the case, long before the word experience infiltrated society...
When we travel we want to experience new things, when we go out to eat we demand an experience beyond the food, when we buy a product or service there is an expectation of an added value experience beyond the core product or service being transacted. The more significant driving forces are; the increasingly competitive environment we live and work in, and a rapidly growing understanding of ‘the possible’. Thousands of businesses and brands compete for our time and money every day, and in this enlightened digital world, ‘the human in the street’ knows how service, data, technology and design can be used to make their experience of interacting with you better. If you don’t live up to those expectations you won’t win. How do they know? Who the hell told them ffs!
They know because that’s what your competitors and other businesses and brands they are experiencing are doing.
The genie is out of the bottle and humans now know that it is possible for businesses and brands to provide them with a great customer experience.
With that knowledge how do you face reality and shape your products and services?
You could do nothing and try and convince your audience that you are an ‘authentic’, ‘warts and all’ type of business where unpredictability and basic service is part of the experience. You need to be really confident in your product and it may work for a BBQ Restaurant or Hipster Bar (but don’t be fooled, it takes effort to create that rough and ready experience), however it would be a risky strategy in areas like retail or financial services.
The second option is to take a walk in your customers’ shoes and shape your product/services through their eyes and exceed their expectations with service, data, technology and design. Make it easy for them to interact with you and make them feel good about it. This is not an extra thing to worry about or a short-term tactic, it’s just good business. That style of thinking needs to be built into your culture and strategy. If it isn’t, your customers will simply go elsewhere, at break-neck speed!
Financial services and banking are feeling the effects of this rapid onset of ‘experience expectation’ and it is really difficult for the heavy weights to keep up with the lightweight fintech contenders. People know that managing and accessing money and credit should be a convenient and easy experience and expectation is growing exponentially.
As a result, banks are pouring resources into digital to remove friction and create experiences which satisfy the thirst for customer experience. That’s the right thing to do. But…it needs to be in the context of a longer term plan and this plan must be in the context of a dramatically changing banking and fintech landscape. Partnerships, collaboration and aggregation are common themes as banks interact with customers and staff via new, owned and 3rd party experiences.
All of this is really important and challenging for banks, fintech start-ups and agencies like us. But what does it mean for customers, for humans? It means that things should get better, the friction between us and our money should reduce and the Experience will/should get better.
Now, take that to the bank!
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