In “Emotional Banking,” I write about the need for financial institutions to rethink the way they engage with retail customers, but the customer experience is something I see as perhaps even more important as banks engage with their corporate customers.
If retail customers are disappointed by their banking experience, at least their banking services are more or less free, which lowers expectations. On the other hand, business customers are spending good money on banking products that help manage their business, and they therefore have much less patience for a lack of the latest and greatest technology coupled with a poor level of service.
Today’s fintech companies use agile methodologies to continuously iterate and improve their products. As a result, the apps business users rely on in their personal lives improve on a weekly or even daily basis, while their business banking interfaces and processes remain frozen in time. The gap between digital best practices and banking realities continues to grow. To close this gap, banks need to culturally reset so they can operate with greater agility. It is rigid thinking—not regulations or legacy infrastructure—that prevents banks from quickly adapting to customers’ ever-evolving needs—whether they’re SMBs or large enterprises. The lack of segmentation in business banking as an example.
Business banking is an impossibly large umbrella term that can encompass your dentist, a regional trucking company, or an international retailer. This lack of serious segmentation signals the lack of serious interest in tailoring experiences. Banks need to shift internally and rebuild around new ways of working so they can match tech’s ability to understand business customers and deliver on that understanding at speed.
This shift in thinking will be necessary to unleash the full potential of new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are designed to power personalization at scale. In the absence of a deep understanding of the customer, the technological potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning is largely wasted on services like chatbots.
There’s enough computing power and largely unexamined transactional data within the banks for any and all of us to deliver intensely emotional and meaningful ‘money moments’ instead of standardized, transactional products. However, that’s only possible if banks know what those ‘money moments’ should contain and how they fit into our work or personal lives.
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