Are financial services more like shopping or a health club? This question keeps popping into my head as memes continue to advance on how customer experience (CX) drives improved business outcomes.
Now don’t get me wrong! It is not that I discount the importance of customer experience in business interactions. After all, who would want a bad one? But there is a more fundamental question: what drives value for a business?
Services are the value mechanism for most banks and credit unions. As we can see in this graphic, despite what many think, services can be commodities. After all, just how different are the accounts, cards, loans, etc. that any bank or credit union offers? Most would agree (despite the marketing!) that these are very similar if not almost identical among financial institutions (with some outlier exceptions).
So are experiences really a step up in value for banks? I don’t think so. We have a goal in mind when we interact in regard to financial services. Some of these are transactional (services level) but many are not. My assumption is that many of these latter are not being fulfilled upon and that is why we see poor overall customer satisfaction scores on expectations based surveys for banks and credit unions.
When I want to move money from one account to another (let’s say) I want that done as easily as possible. I am not looking for an “experience!” If it is not easy then the customer journey is a problem and most people will see that as a poor customer experience. But if the journey is optimized, then that will not be interpreted as a good customer experience because it’s expected! The bank is merely delivering on its promised services.
So, financial institutions can lose customers when the journey is not good and the experience is bad. But we as consumers don’t value the customer experience per se with our bank as we would when shopping or visiting Disney! What we really want is a specific outcome from our interaction.
Thus, just like a health club, we have a goal in walking into a branch or using digital banking. Maybe we want to increase our savings or buy a car or build a wealth plan or reduce our debt. Whatever that goal is, we’d like help in achieving that. And when we have that outcome, the result is transformation and it creates value. Value that I bet most people would be willing to pay for unlike the fees they get today.
What do you think?