A recent McKinsey report on retail banking in Europe reveals some interesting developments in consumer behaviour.
You can read the full report here, but it’s worth repeating the summary:
“In response to consumer demand for more—and more varied—channels for financial services, Europe’s retail banks are offering customers an increasingly sophisticated choice of remote (mostly electronic) interactions and traditional face-to-face connections through branches and other physical meeting places. Consumers say they want both electronic and physical contact points, but the extent to which they embrace electronic banking, and consequently the pace of change, varies significantly from country to country and generation to generation.”
I think there’s another message emerging – and it’s for anyone with customers, not just banks.
It’s less to do with the physical means of contact or delivery of service, and more with the quality of the experience.
Whether they articulate it or not, I believe that what consumers want is consistency. The experience they have online should mirror the quality of the experience face-to-face or through correspondence.
That’s consistency of quality, mind, not content. The perils of mismatching channel and content are all too apparent. We can all remember when marketers grasped the opportunity offered by email: “It’s cheap, it’s easy, we can just shove everything out to everyone, all the time. What’s not to love?”
Well, plenty, actually. But this obsession with the means rather than the end will pass, as successive generations of customers become digitally fluent.
My guess is, providers that have focused over time on a consistent customer experience at every touch point will enjoy greater levels of loyalty and advocacy that those distracted by the technologies themselves.