If you are thinking of a trip you have any number of options to get there. You can travel by car, by bus, by train, by ship or by air. Depending on the distance you might walk, or ride a bike. You can travel in luxury such as a private jet, the first class
cabin of an Emirates A380, a stateroom on a cruise liner, or you can go ‘budget'. RyanAir, Southwest and other airlines are now rumored to be considering introducing ‘standing-room' flights, where customers aren't seated, but stand against a padded board within
minimal room for moving around. So here is the question, in banking today does the journey really matter?
Banks are very focused on the destination. They constantly talk about the product they want you to buy or apply for, without thinking about the context of the product in your daily life or the journey you take to get there. How many times do you hear a bank
say, "We are your one-stop shop for all your financial products and needs" or something similar. That sort of a statement says - we're your destination, but we don't care how you get here, why you need it or what you do with the product once you successfully
You can't choose your destination or the journey
In many instances customers get saddled with a process or interaction flow that is poorly designed, inefficient and doesn't get them to the destination their looking for. Imagine getting on a plane, arriving at a city to be told it's not the one you were booked
for because the airline knows best what you need? We're told we need to come into a branch to sign a piece of paper because it is easier for the bank, not because it is the best way to serve us.
This lack of control over the journey also produces some trepidation. For years, customers have dreaded going to the bank to request a loan, a credit facility or a mortgage. Often when a customer is denied a loan or credit facility they are not even told
why they don't qualify - "sorry, bank policy". It's as if the bank has the attitude that "you're lucky to be a customer" and if you don't qualify, we're under no obligation to make your life easier...
I don't owe you...
The concept that as a customer I owe you, the service provider, something in this interaction is a fundamental problem. The concept that I should have to jump through hoops to qualify for your products or service is, frankly, a joke. While I appreciate
that banks have risk policies, etc. the fact is that today if as a service provider you aren't going to provide me with a product or service, you better have a damn good reason for doing so, and you better make sure that you explain exactly why I didn't qualify
or be as transparent about the process as possible. If not, the inequality in this relationship will simply encourage me to leave.
Recently Bank of America has been rapidly buying up hundreds of damaging and abusive domain names such as BrianMoynihanBlows.com, BrianMoynihanSucks.com, BrianTMoynihanBlows.com, etc. If you didn't know, Brian Moynihan is the CEO of Bank of America. In customer
advocacy terms, if your service is so bad that you have to defensively buy up domain names to prevent negative press or customer sentiment, then things are bad. Very bad.
When Apple launched their iPad 2 in March of this year, fans camped out all night waiting for the opening of the store the next day, some braving cold weather, rain and exposure, just to be one of the first to get the new product. Somehow I can't imagine
a customer of Bank of America, or any bank for that matter, sitting out the front of a branch all night waiting for a new product launch. The difference here is Apple doesn't have just customers, it has fans, it doesn't just provide products, it provides compelling
journeys. Whereas, BofA is buying up domain names relating to how badly Bryan Moynihan Sucks...
Getting the entire journey right
The difference is not as simple as saying that Apple is "sexy" and Banking is the least sexy business of all. The difference is that Apple knows how to make customers feel great about the product, the destination, and the journey. Citibank has recently launched
branches that they claim are modeled on the Apple store, but is Citi actually working to improve the journey, or are they just attempting to build nicer destinations?
Look at Apple's retail spaces, their websites, packaging, slick marketing, support for the developer community, and the dedication of their customers, and you see a company working not only on the destination, but on the entire journey. Customers are not
penalized if they want to engage online, or through the App Store on their phone, they get a great experience all round. Does your bank think like this?