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October 2007
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December 2007

Bank Customers Say Give Me Some Respect

According to a recent survey report by Allegiance - Pulse of America Survey, there are 4 key areas banks need to engage with customers.

Helpful Service:  Customers like doing business with a bank that saves them time and money. Banks have focused on wait times, and overall, they are meeting customer expectations. But saving time is not limited to waiting in line. For example, online banking services should be easy to use and understand, which creates a strong avenue to build engagement.
Clear Communications: Customers are reluctant to rely on banks for unbiased financial information, yet they thirst for knowledge about the newest and best products and services available to them. Customers are saying you can connect with me emotionally by telling me about a product that is relevant to my situation. 
Personal Connection: Customers say that their one-on-one experiences with bank representatives (tellers, loan officers, or managers) have a meaningful effect on their engagement, both positive and negative. Banks should not underestimate the power of each one-on-one experience in building lasting engagement, and they should establish training and processes to establish best practices. 
Respect:  Banks must do better at making customers feel respected. Engaged customers cite bank reps who deliver service with speed and confidence. Dissatisfied customers cite bank fees as causing stress, which makes them feel less respected. In particular, some customers feel disrespected when banks game the system to increase bank fees wherever they can. The message to banks: Engaged customer are also savvy customers and expect to be treated fairly.

I quite agree with personal connection as an important engagement pillar, as technology is taking away personalized service from banking. Hence, banks need to identify ways of building personal connection with customers as they invest more in self-service technologies.

Customer Relationships are Conversations

There is a lovely little post by Valeria Maltoni where she tracks a post in Tom Peters blog on " What is customer relationship? " She writes:

The working definition they’ve come up with is:

A relationship is an ongoing conversation with a customer, in which the customer never thinks of you without thinking of the two of you.

Customer relationships are conversation only and if there is an unwavering commitment on the part of the company to make it so. Let’s not forget that in exchange for providing a product or service, the company gets compensation.

So far, the best reasoning I read about the whole discussion comes from Paul H in the UK:

customer relationship should be what the customer wants it to be. We want that to be a human relationship.

While it matters how we think about customer relationships and approach the opportunities we have to begin or continue these conversations with a mindset and attitude of service...

Open Social - The platform for customer aggregation

I have often wondered( when I receive mails from different folks inviting me to be a member of several social networking sites they were members of)oops, hear comes one more social network membership!  I was always left overwhelmed. Where is the time for me to become a member of one more social network and interact. Being an active user of linked-in, I have always felt, what if I had a way to get everyone of my contacts across all social networks into linked-in, be it professional and personal.

I think Open Social from Google just does that. Open Social provides a platform for aggregation of Social networks into the social network site of your choice. It's Google's solution of a connector like app for social networks. There are some lovely business application demos from Linked-in & there. I am sure there will a lot more applications, more than just business applications, which will help me get connected to my contacts and connections in Linked-in, wherever they are in any social network.

At the start of the year, I had read 2007 will be the year of Widgets and it's coming alive with this innovation from Google. I am sure there will be a lot more application development around this code but this is according to me is just the beginning. I believe this is going to have some profund impact on how data, information & interests about consumers will get shared and also how businesses will get a lot more collaborative in the future.

Take a look at the launch video: