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How banking will change as the internet grows more pervasive.

IN A RECENT WALL STREET JOURNAL (1) ARTICLE Tony Fadell observed that we are on a very fast track in the evolution of the Internet. He believes the next phases will have extraordinarily disruptive effects on current business models. But also, for those who understand and get on this track, the rewards can be enormous. This is particularly good advice for bankers, whose product is increasingly time-sensitive digital data set in a value-added contextual information format.

As the former Apple senior executive overseeing the iPod and iPhone, Fadell's vision, though dramatic, should not be frightening for bankers. On the contrary, the impact of his vision is quite consistent with how many thoughtful banking strategists envision our future delivery system a few years from now.

Simply put, Fadell envisions a future Internet having a very different feel and role than that of today. And that it will evolve into a ubiquitous augmenter of our own intelligence--connecting everyone with everything in ways that turn passive data into timely information, which is not only useful but contextually relevant to the requestor's immediate situation.

Fadell says, "Instead of seeking it (the Internet) out, we'll be surrounded by it. And instead of extracting data from it, we'll be fed a constant stream of curated, personalized information to help us solve problems and live better."

When everything becomes connected

Imagine a woman shopper at an Apple store who stumbles across a close-out price on an Internet connected AC/heating system thermostat but who doesn't have enough buying power on her credit or debit card. In Fadell's vision, your bank would be aware of her mall location, anticipate the need for additional credit, and have already sent a conditional credit extension on her iPhone.

This may sound rather futuristic, but consider Google's recent overhaul of its algorithm to prioritize search results in favor of "mobile-friendly" websites. That is, websites that are specifically formatted for the tiny screens on cell phones. According to a recent article in the American Banker (2), a sample of 25,000 websites, including banks, were tested and 40 percent flunked, largely because the sites were designed with lots of graphics for the desktop, then presented as-is on the phone, where they made navigation difficult and alienated users.

According to the article, 90 percent of the time sites are far from OK because everything is tiny and navigation nearly impossible.

So, if you accept the notion that we will quickly move through the phases where the Internet connects people, places and things, then you should anticipate a much longer and continuing planning horizon for your mobile banking offering. Envision a day when everyone--including your retail and business customers--and everything is connected. Your challenge, then, is to turn relevant and timely data into useful information for both your customer, yourself, and perhaps even your customer's customer.

Develop an information grid

Put yourself in your customer's shoes and envision categories of questions they might have based on their situation. Then think through helpful answers. And if appropriate, think about ways to connect your personal clients with business clients. It may be awhile before you will be able to sensitize the Q&A's by location, but that should not stop you from building your helpful information grid. A couple of examples to prime your creative pump might be:

* You enter your bank branch and your iPhone alerts the manager who comes over to greet you by name.

* You're in line at your bank and your iPhone alerts the teller to your recent Web query about the safety of chip-in-card debit cards. After completing your transaction, the teller asks whether you got all your chip questions answered and refers you over to the manager.

* You're at your car dealer having routine service on you eight-year-old car and your iPhone advises you of a special new car financing offer.

* It's twenty minutes before the stock market closes, and one of your stocks has just pierced the "down 8 percent sell" condition you set. Up pops a notifying email with a sell button to click or reset.

Now, it may well be awhile before these questions can be expanded into a complete location sensitive grid, but it's not too early to begin building a valuable encyclopedia of information that is useful to both your clients and your bankers.

Then, as marketing director, consider forming a planning team made up of your bank's key managers and begin work as a steering committee whose mission is to chart your bank's path forward toward the "Internet of Things." Be aware of the increasing concerns surrounding the "invasion of privacy" (3) issue; and, of course, as always be sure to vet your ever increasing list of possibilities in client focus groups to make sure these possibilities have value and are not perceived as an invasion of privacy.

(1) Nest CEO and former Apple Iphone/Ipad Senior Vice President Tony Fadell on the Future of the Internet, Wall Street Journal, April 27, 2015

(2) Bank Websites Face "Mobilegeddon" as Google Tweaks Formula, American Banker April 28, 2015

(3) Brave New World of Smart Devices, Consumer Reports, June '15

L. BIFF MOTLEY is president of Motley & Associates, New Orleans. Email: Bypher@Mac.com.
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Title Annotation:CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Comment:How banking will change as the internet grows more pervasive.(CUSTOMER SATISFACTION)
Author:Motley, L. Biff
Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2015
Words:867
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