Everyone is looking to ‘digital’ experience as being the way forward in business. It isn’t on its own, as those of you who read my blog will know - it is ‘an ingredient in the pie and not the pie’. In banking, ‘going digital’ will help reduce overheads, cut head count and increase profits. Get digital right and you will win, get it wrong and you will end up pouring investment into a bottomless pit and loose customers by the thousands. In this article I will discuss the good and bad and explain why it’s important to ‘beware of the Dancing Bear’.
In the Middle East, there is an insatiable drive to be first at everything - the biggest, the longest, the largest, the tallest... those of us who live in this part of the world hear it every day, but is that drive creating the first casualties of the digital banking era? I believe so.
In the past couple of weeks, I was invited to visit a leading Bank’s branch of the future. A digital masterpiece - that’s how it was billed. Anyhow, to cut a long story short it was awful. Why? Because they had created a ‘Dancing Bear’. A temple of futuristic technology, white shiny surfaces and large touch screens that had:
no usability consideration
no attention to the customer journey
no focus on the simple retail principle of learn, teach and sell
concentrated on technology first without considering an integrated brand experience
This branch was empty and concept will fail regardless of how many advertising dollars are spent trying to convince customers that it is the future of banking.
The reality is this kind of experience is not the future. It is more reminiscent of a dental surgery than a friendly, approachable lifestyle enabling bank - a 1970’s sci-fi view of the future that exists only in the realm of fantasy.
Banks must ask themselves some serious questions if they are going to win in the future. If you, as a bank CEO are going to invest in technology, please ask yourself:
What are the business benefits?
Will my customers want to use this?
Would I use this?
Is my solution simple and easy to understand?
Is there an integrated experience with all other elements of my brand?
What can I do by using digital to form a closer, more personal and relevant relationship with my customers - so it’s hard for them to leave me?
Most of all, ask yourself ‘Am I creating a Dancing Bear?’
So what is a Dancing Bear?
Have you ever seen a Dancing Bear? ...At first you look at it and think... wow, that’s cool. Yet the more you look at it, the more you think... what’s the point!
Please remember this.
Avoid creating a digital Dancing Bear. You’ll thank me for it.