Recently I participated in an excellent seminar by two serial entrepreneurs in Jonathan Fields and Charlie Gilkey. One of the exercises was designed to get into your customer’s head. “Everything starts from there when it comes to product creation,” they said. In their model (described below) you define your business/personal mission and then analyze your customer along five questions to create or validate your product offering.
Unfortunately, many tech companies get this wrong because they get excited about new technology without validating that this new tech/product satisfies a customer’s needs or pain points or, better yet, delights the customer. The same is true of many bankers.
The regulatory environment has many financial institutions reworking their checking account line ups in the hopes of recapturing lost revenue. Lost revenue is creating product changes, which is a lot like saying that our mission is to make lots of money so we’re going to revamp our products without regard to our customer’s needs. Actually, it’s just like saying that.
When we make product changes by only looking at lost revenue, we’re adding in obstacles that are designed solely to create fees. Or we interview vendors that are selling account packages that they say “consumers want and are willing to pay for.” Personally I’ve not seen these rewards accounts work long term, but do believe that they fall short of meeting a customer’s larger needs when your decision to employ them stems from your main desire to recoup lost revenue.
What does a customer first product revamp look like? Fields and Gilkey would argue it looks like this analysis process:
- What does your customer want?
- What are their felt needs? (what do they say they need)
- What are their actual needs? (what do they really need)
- What are their aspirations?
- What obstacles are in their way?
So what does Grumpy Cat have to do with this?
Think of your customers and prospects as Grumpy Cats. They know what they want. They know what they like. Grumpy Cat does not care about your lost revenue. Grumpy Cat cares about getting fed, having a warm bed, and a clean ass.
If you do not consider your end users needs, Grumpy Cat will not buy. More likely, you will also design a product that no customer wants.
Am I saying that your bank needs to bow to the whims of a customer like a cat owner? No, this is just a fun metaphor. The cat owners out there will know that it’s impossible to please a cat, even a happy one.
But, if your product redesign stemmed from anything but a customer-first needs assessment, then yes, you should fall victim to the Internet’s greatest meme.
So the conference hashtag for the American Bankers Association Bank Marketing Conference is officially here: #ABAMKTG. A quick Twitter search shows a good amount of activity already surfacing as well as this partial list of registered attendees with their corresponding handles. Can’t wait to reconnect or meet with many of you! Sincerely, @BankMarketing – aka Mark Zmarzly
If I missed you, please add your handle into a comment and I’ll get you added. Thanks!
In the last two days I’ve encountered two stories that couldn’t be more different. The first was about the uncaring staffers at United Airlines who lost a 10-year-old unaccompanied minor. The second was about a New Hampshire Panera Bread employee who went out of her way to make soup for a customer who was passing soon from cancer.
Over-the-top customer service stories aren’t told much in the banking industry and they certainly aren’t often told publicly. Every week I hear conversations from bankers and bank marketers about social media strategies – or more accurately put “gimmicks” – for increasing engagement – or more accurately put “likes” – and I swear I can hear the Internet weep a bit. Giving away $1 to a charity in exchange for a like isn’t exactly at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And where does pushing this factoid out to your 233 fans fit into the grand scheme of things?
Whatever happened to engaging people in person with extreme service and kindness instead of with random questions or contests?
Think about the last time you had an extreme customer service experience in any environment? I have worked in the hotel, restaurant, and retail industries and used to pride myself on delivering consistently good experience most of the time and in looking for an extreme way to deliver when I could. From the other side of the counter, it’s not as easy as it seems but it can make an amazing difference to a customer. And, as we’ve seen, it can give someone a reason to talk about you and your brand:
If you know of any publically discussed over-the-top banking service stories, please let me know. If you don’t, think about what your retail and branch admin departments can do to assist in making moments like these – moments that people share publicly online and in person – an everyday occurrence!