Every year in autumn Gartner invites CIO’s and leading players in the IT space to attend its symposium, where they give an outlook on the main trends affecting CIO’s for the coming year. At the latest symposium of November 2-5, 2009, Gartner gave some interesting insights in the way customers will interact with their banks.
According to Gartner, Social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, eBay, blogging, etc…) are rapidly gaining importance, not only in the B2C but also in the B2B space.
Closely linked to this is the trend of “consumerization”. Consumers are better informed and more critical. Peer-to-peer initiatives are gaining in importance. Consumers do believe their peers, more than the companies that sell to them.
The recipe for companies: give your clients a platform where they can connect peer-to-peer, let them be your spokespeople, let them do your marketing.
This is absolutely pertinent to direct banks in today’s economic climate. If one looks at what happened recently at DSB in the Netherlands, one notices that customers today realise that, yes, their bank can go in receivership. This has made customers nervous. Today,customers want 24×7 access to their money. Even a simple glitch that would bring down the website for a few hours could have substantial consequences. Information spreads like wildfire through forums, blogs, … Customers are aware of situations as they arise.
In a traditional bank, customers have alternatives. If they don’t like something or someone they can go and see another relationship manager, they can choose a different channel. In a direct bank, this is not the case, the internet is the channel. The alternative is the competition. There is no second chance. Streamlined and constantly tuned systems and processes are essential to ensure service is delivered 24×7 to the standards customers are now expecting. A good response team and completely open communication are essential to resolve things should such a situation happen.
Fortunately there’s also a large positive aspect to social media. Accessing social network sites and social media tools – for example in the Netherlands one has independer.nl, spaarinformatie.nl to name but a few – enables you to connect directly to your customers and get a clear idea as to what they want, where they are and what makes them tick. And we all know that knowing your customer is a key to success. Once you know them, it becomes much easier to reach out to them and create brand awareness by increasing your visibility.
And after all, if you´re reading this thread, you must be consumerized too, right?