Posts Tagged ‘bank’

Incomprehensible business decisions that alienate customers

Posted on: April 8th, 2011 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

Every now and again a company does something that is so incomprehensible, so mystifying, that it blows my mind. I have had two such experiences in the last week, and have to tell someone about it – if for no other reason than just to get you thinking about ways in which you might completely and utterly alienate your customers. You might be doing so for very good business reasons (at least, in the short term), but ultimately your actions could push your customers away.

And they’ll never come back. I know I won’t be going back to either Bantam Live or Santander Business Banking.

Over a year ago, our small company started using Bantam Live. It is a fantastic social media based customer relationship management (CRM) system. It has a Facebook like feel to it, and allows our geographically dispersed team to not only capture and manage client information, deals, and projects, but also chat with each other, log emails sent to clients and much more. It has become an integral part of how we manage our business and connect as a team.

We happily upgraded from the free version to a paid version last year, to ensure we could have our whole team connected and use all of the great features. Every one of our team use the system daily.

Bantam Live’s team is also great. They’re hugely responsive to queries, and very ready to take requests for feature upgrades and additions. We’ve come to rely on the functionality that Bantam Live provides for our business.

So, we were thrilled when Bantam Live announced that Constant Contact had bought them, and would be integrating Bantam’s social approach into Constant Contact’s much more powerful customer connection software. The best of both worlds. Or so we thought…


Square – accept credit card payments via your cellphone

Posted on: May 11th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 2 Comments

You heard about it here first. My colleague, Dean van Leeuwen wrote about this trend at the beginning of March (read his post on the Future of Money). Something he just mentioned in that post was launched officially today (and picked up by Fast Company magazine – they could read this blog to keep ahead of the game :-) ).

This is a game changer for financial services!

It’s called Square, and will allow you to be able to process credit card payments using your smartphone. According to the press release:

Starting today, Square aims to make credit card sales as easy for retailers with an iPhone as it is for some dude selling a couch on Craigslist.

With Square, anyone can accept credit or debit card payments by downloading the app and plugging a little plastic cube into the headphone jack of an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android phone. After a quick swipe of the card through the reader, the merchant turns the device over to the customer to sign his or her name on the touchscreen using a finger instead of a pen. The customer can add a tip, either by percentage or a particular amount, and then enters their phone number or email address. In the best case, the receipt message will buzz in the customer’s pocket as an email or SMS text message while walking away with their purchase.

Customers are charged as usual by their banks or credit card companies, and Square settles up the net funds with merchants each night instead of at the end of the month. The swiper and application are both free and include access to an online dashboard with analytics that help merchants track exactly what they’ve been selling.

I wonder if the banks are watching? They do tend to miss the game changing moments in their industry.

Generation Y young people – NOT coming soon to a bank near you

Posted on: March 31st, 2010 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

In a report released in February 2010 by Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) (download the PDF here – 2.8Mb), the needs of a younger generation of banking customers was investigated. It makes for interesting reading.

Some of the highlights include the fact that 85% of young people (“Gen Y” – teenagers and 20-somethings) report being satisfied with their current banks. Is that just because they don’t believe they have any possible options? Do they choose banks not on the basis of “the best choice possible”, but rather “the least crappy option”? Tough words, but it would make sense of the data.

More than one-third of Gen Y consumers want help managing their financial affairs and they want help to come from their banks. Most of them actually get advice from friends and family, but they appear dissatisfied with this. Social media is good for finding out what movies are good, but are not considered trustworthy for financial management. They really would like more professional advice. More than one-third of Gen Y prefer using professional advisers as their source for financial advice, ahead of peers, personal research, or automated tools. A very interesting point, though, is how they want this advice. Nearly 40% of young people surveyed would be happy to interact with an adviser via video (as compared to 17% for the over 50s).

It’s not just the medium they’re keen on – it’s also that they can speak to a financial representative from the comfort of their home or office at a time that is convenient for them, not between the hours of 9-5, Monday-Friday.

Banks are also going to have to go mobile. Not just banking from your mobile phone, but genuine app-based thinking and the use of social network mindsets to connect with clients. Read one case study from a Spanish bank here.

And this isn’t all about tapping into the “diet coke and movie” type of money usually associated with student banking. The report estimates that Gen Y are now spending the same amount of discretionary money each day as Baby Boomers are. They don’t have the wealth pot built up yet (but let’s face it, most Boomers don’t have that anymore either), but they’re well on the road to being a significant market for the banks, and a key source of profitability.

That’s going to require banks to change their ways. That might be asking a lot, but if it’s ever going to happen, now would be the time.

The coming revolution in microinsurance

Posted on: March 25th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington 3 Comments

There has been a lot made of microlending in the past few years – most notably in the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize to Grameen Bank founder Mohammed Younis for his work in Bangladesh. Now, throughout the developing world, there is a rush to bring other financial services to the “unbanked” of the world. The case studies of success (and failure) are growing, and there are many lessons for insurance operators in other parts of the world.

The successes involve removing middlemen, using technology to manage the relationships and conditions, stripping out administrative layers and costs, and finding the parts of life that are closest to people’s hearts (and livelihoods). If you’re in insurance, then don’t just think this is something for the Third World to consider. You could start the revolution in your market if you take the time to find the levers that will bring structural change to insurance.

Read the story below, featured in the The Economist last week, for inspiration.


What you could get away with… if you were a corporation (by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show)

Posted on: March 18th, 2010 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

The Daily Show, by Jon Stewart, is one of my TV habits. It’s a satirical news show, that specialises in showing up the political and corporate establishments for their hyprocrisy. Their staple diet is to take sound bites from the day’s news, and then contrast this with archive footage from the same person a few years earlier – typically making precisely the opposite point.

While some of the humour can be puerile, underneath the veneer of Comedy Central lies Jon Stewart’s insightful and incisive depth of understanding of the political scene in the US. His interviews are genius, and some of the pieces on the show are breathtakingly brilliant in their analysis.

One of the best I’ve seen in a while was from Tuesday’s edition, in which Jon tried to help us see the depth of corruption and hubris found on Wall Street. The segment was called “In Dodd We Trust”, and you can see the 10 minute video here or below (if you’re not in the UK, that is). (Get past the first five minutes or so, to reach the truly great bits!)


The future for banks and a better way to pay bankers

Posted on: November 10th, 2009 by Graeme Codrington No Comments

POSTED 10 November 2009; UPDATED 11 November 2009

One story is going to run for the next 3-5 years at least: how to fix the banking system. The big media headline grabbing story is how to regulate bankers’ pay. It appears as if bankers don’t know how much their image has been tarnished, or how important trust is in their business – at least if their announcements of monumental bonuses to be paid out at the end of 2009 is anything to go by. The spoof magazine cover in this picture is just one example of how bankers are now less trusted than estate agents! (OK, that’s unfair on agents).

Whether or not they actually go ahead with this is irrelevant – the fact that they might have is enough. Change must come to banking and financial sector. It will come in the form of greater regulations in the background (linked to Basel II and other related legislation that will be coming). But in the glaring public eye, bankers’ remuneration is a key issue that will need addressing.

The CEO of Booz & Company wrote a great piece for their latest S+B ezine. Read it online here, or an extract below. Then, they followed that up with a further article about how banks need to change – read it here or an extract below.