Last blog we opened our eyes to exciting possibilities transforming industries like financial services, and now we’ll go “beyond,” in honor of this month’s Spark blog theme. Every time we get closer to customer passions and expectations, we realize the very nature of a business can go beyond anything ever seen before. What once looked and acted like a bank, today might appear in an entirely different form.
As Superman bystanders once remarked, eyes up to the sky: “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superman!” Here are two examples of banking companies going beyond their traditional forms to service vastly different customer needs.
“Banking with Friends”
As Accenture highlights on how banking is now agile, Imagine playing online games — trading virtual currency, for example. Or helping crowd-fund your pet projects. Now imagine doing both while checking the status of your bank account. What about logging into your bank through Facebook Connect and letting Facebook “likes” determine the interest rate on your accounts? The more different customers who “like” the rate, the higher it goes.
Germany’s Fidor Bank embraces technology to deliver all of this, and plenty of practical financial services besides. Its customers can discuss their requirements and share ideas via chat rooms, for instance, with the bank’s specialist advisors, who are always on hand to help. Fidor has no sales staff. It relies on its online community to recommend it to others and also propose product innovations — hence Fidor’s description of its clients’ experience as “banking with friends.”
There’s a lot more to Fidor than friends having fun, however. The Munich-based, online-only institution has attracted people who lost confidence in mainstream finance during the downturn and now demand a different banking experience. They want more personalized, engaging and responsive engagement that is connected to their everyday interests. Fidor is fulfilling those needs by leveraging new digital technologies — social media, in particular —that define its customers’ lives.
Tapping the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Halfway around the globe, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), meanwhile, has developed a range of mobile and online services to satisfy a diversity of its customers’ everyday needs. A guide to real estate taps into a core area of investment interest among the bank’s community. An app lets customers make peer and commercial payments via email addresses, mobile phone numbers and Facebook IDs.
For the savvy entrepreneurs in its prospect base, CBA is partnered with startup Kounta to deliver a Point of Sale app for its Albert tablet. The app helps customers reduce how many different systems and steps are involved in simply running their daily business, while greatly expanding their metrics and analytics capabilities.
All of these experiences and technology investments fit the lifestyle of CBA’s customer base. They leverage new digital methods, platforms, and social media to bring new services to life.
What I also find exciting about both of these customer examples is that they have already looked at their value chain and applied solid data analytics (which we prescribed in our last blog). Now they are going beyond traditional business and instituting their superpowers — acting on their discovered insights. The new shapes and forms of their services have engaged different segments of customers. At the same time, the essence of each bank’s brand and trust has been carried forward.
As we will see in our next blog, the innovation does not stop there, as industries become “tech-mixologists.” More on that in May. But meanwhile, what do you think about banks taking on new shapes and forms in our digital world? Think about your different roles, perhaps as enterprise IT leaders and banking consumers — where do you see opportunities or great examples of banking’s evolution?