Author: Jesse Swash, Co-Founder Design by Structure
We are living through an extraordinary moment; it's been said so much this year. Years of change brought on in a matter of weeks: no time to catch your breath; continually on video; everything remote; everything in the cloud. It’s not a question of embracing it, it’s just the new reality.
How we work. How we communicate. How we meet. How we pitch. How we convert. How we deliver. How we grow. How we innovate. And crucially, how we (in business) survive.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s this – if you weren’t already doing it – you must put the user, the client, and the customer right at the heart of everything you do. You need to continually drive better services. That means being brave enough to test, fail, and learning to improve all of the time.
This behaviour, attitude and way of being, is as relevant to the future of banking as it is to any and every other business that wants to survive and thrive. But what’s the point of simply surviving. In fact, it is the businesses that are built on these behaviours and cultures that are the new giants. The very companies we now rely on to exist in this new normal.
What if banks allowed themselves to adopt some of these agile SaaS tactics, allowed some of that energy, drive, and desire to create rich, useful and meaningful user experiences through their doors. Not all at once, obviously, but to start the process of change.
Granted, it's easy to say. Harder to do. And risky to get wrong. And if there’s one sector with a low appetite for risk, it’s this one. So where can banking brands access ideas, inspiration and parallels and also de-risk adoption?
Parallel lines. Parallel sectors. Learn from the successful. Those who are re-thinking the way they and their sectors behave. Look to the brands that have succeeded and prospered. Look at the mistake’s others have made along the way. Look at how they have transformed their industries and take, take, take and learn, learn, learn.
Like it or loathe it. Amazon sets the bar pretty high and is littered with clues. Start with its total clarity of purpose, of why it exists, an understanding that it exists to deliver. Whether it’s must-have items, groceries, information from the corner of your room with Alexa, movies on your TV with Prime, hosting the websites you surf on AWS, or cargo and trips to the moon with Blue Origin. It’s all about 'delivery'. Problem-solving of 'every day is the first day' despite being one of the largest companies in the world. With daily stand-ups. Problem-solving in agile blended teams. And mix in an obsession with making everything user-centric with the customers’ needs always first and the door is wide open to add services, dominate competitors, and to take market share.
The path to change
Change offers opportunity. To reach more customers means more opportunities to sell. Asking more questions such as, what can we do better? means adding new services and product lines which in turn allows you to drive further sales loyalty and ultimately success. Those banks which re-think the right parts of their business and re-think their offers are the ones that will go further.
A recent client of ours, Mews, is a prime example of a business driving fundamental change in the hospitality sector. On the face of it revolutionising the sector with its technology. But actually, all driven by a deep-rooted desire to transform the guest experience for the better forever.
- Cloud-based. Tick.
- Easy to use for guests and hotel professionals alike. Tick.
- Solving a user problem, eliminating long check-in queues, allowing weary travellers to get to their rooms faster, adding buyable services at online check-in, and removing the check-in desk entirely allowing the owners, designers, and architects to make use of premium space in better ways. Tick.
What is the secret? It's a familiar tale. Behave as though every-day is ‘the first day’. Agile ways of working. Blended teams from inside the industry and outside solving the problems that matter. Technology deployed to service an enhanced customer experience, not the hotel’s business admin needs. The net result, staff who can focus on their guests who in turn spend more and enjoy more. Everyone’s a winner.
So, take these three simple methods and apply them to the banking sector:
- Understand why you are different.
- Find that energy and love of what you do to behave as though this is a great day,
if not 'the first day'.
- Make the customer experience remarkable and memorable.
And even if banking is essential it doesn’t have to be tedious. Keep your eyes open to parallel sectors for inspiration. Think about what can you learn from using Netflix or Spotify for example and apply ideas to your banking app?
These ideas will help your offer to be different. For the right reasons. Drawing insight from outside can help shift your thinking outside of the norm of your sector.
But. And it’s a big but. Do it slowly at first. Fools rush in. It takes time to change the direction and course of a super-tanker. But a series of small changes can make for huge changes over time. Take time to bring everyone with you. An aligned team enthused at the opportunity will go further than a half-committed reluctant group.
The upside is huge. Get started. The times they are a-changing… but at your pace.