Finding the balance between user expectations and financial institutions

Banks need to start meeting their customer’s expectations.

Back in the “old days,” if you were applying for a bank loan you would have to dress up, suit and tie, cap in hand, and make an appointment with the manager at your local bank. Now however, online banking makes applying for accounts, loans, and other financial-related issues much easier—or does it?

Customers expect everything they do and interact with online to be as easy as placing a bid on Ebay or buying something off of Amazon. Customers expect the same “easiness” from their bank institutions. People don’t buy things off Ebay or Amazon necessarily because it’s the cheapest option or because they give the user free gifts or free shipping—customers prefer these websites because it’s pleasurable to shop there.

It’s simple. It’s quick. And it’s fun. So why is it so hard to deal with banks online?

Most banks have mobile apps, responsive websites, and some have even gone as far as mobile payments services. All of these things are good, but banks are still missing some of the rock-bottom basics. If a user has to make a minor change to their account, there’s a good chance they might have to make a phone call. Despite already having an account with a particular bank, users are often expected to fill out page after page of questions, terms and conditions, and tick-boxes to apply for an additional account or product. If a user relocates, their bank often requires them to change their address for each account or product. Why can’t banks have a central account management system? Wouldn’t that be the easy thing to do?
Here’s why: banks think they “know” what their customers want, without even talking to them.
Big banks aren’t getting the customers experience. Banks need to listen to their customers and design their products to be more helpful. Here’s a quick example: what if your bank gave you certain recommendations like: “Customers just like you spend X amount of dollars less on car insurance each month, these are the types of providers they use,” or “Have you considered moving some of your savings into one of our X accounts? You would make $X more in interest this year than if you kept your money in savings alone.”

Banks could provide a variety of services that are beneficial to the users. What if banks could map out your average monthly payments and include social networking data such as birthdays, life events, and upcoming invitations into each month’s projection? This type of information would be a win-win for both the users and the banks.

Hopefully banks can start implementing easier-to-use programs and services that can enhance a user’s overall online banking experience. Banks should begin to understand what must be done to get the basics right. They need to create and implement an un-surpassed customer experience that can change the way customers perceive banks in the future.

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