Why technology should be beautiful or invisible
It’s taken time, but finally the penny is dropping with my clients in the banking and technology sectors. There is a new world order, where data is king and where simple and effective customer experiences rule. The kind of experiences that are targeted, powered by micro-segmented analytics and focussed behind the scenes whilst being elegantly simple and effective at the front end.
I read the other day that customers, in the future, will be inclined to bank with Google, Amazon, Facebook or Apple. Why? They are seen as simple, cool, personal, adaptive and trustworthy by customers – what customers don’t see is the ‘mega data’ analysis that is happening behind the scenes to make this possible. The stark reality for banks is that unless they ‘get on the bus’, understand this ‘new world order’, improve their understanding of what customers actually want, improve their service offer in line with their understanding (through all channels), understand the need for flexibility in their network formats and channels, improve their… everything… there are turbulent times ahead for the industry.
All to often in recent years, organisations have placed technology front and centre, loud and proud, visible and glaring… because technology is rather like muscle flexing in the alpha male dominated world of banking – if yours is bigger and brighter than your competitors then you believe you can win. This is not the case now and will not be in the future.
The reality is different. New benchmarks are being set every day by organisations like Uber and others that are having a profound affect on the way we interact with technology. Simplicity is the key. In the ‘new world order’, complicated interfaces and intimidating screens of information will be replaced by intuitive carefully choreographed interactions where at every point, the customer is able to do exactly what he or she wants to do, wherever they want to do it, whenever they want to do it and, almost unknown to the customer the service provider will be quietly gathering data on the customers behaviour and refining their business with rapid, incremental innovation.
Progressive banks understand how customers are browsing, where they go to perform specific tasks, how long they are taking to perform these and how successful the service is in delivering to the customers needs. By gathering more and more data about how and what customers are doing Banks will remove the guesswork from their business, target on opportunities that win and drive simplification. The more data they gather, the more personal the experience will become and the more they will ‘take the guesswork out of winning’.
I call this the ‘Swan Effect’, where on the surface, the interactions are simple and elegant, whilst under the surface, the engine is paddling like crazy.
Ten tips for making technology beautiful or invisible:
- Integrate technology into a carefully choreographed customer journey that enhances your customers experience of your brand.
- Make sure the technology has a real purpose and not an imagined one.
- Only use technology where you know customers will use it. How many times have you visited a store only to see iPads switched off and large touch-screens sitting idle?
- Keep interfaces simple and uncluttered.
- Never over promise – make sure the technology works.
- Gather data on customer behaviour whenever possible – data is the new oil.
- Customer facing technology is no longer king – it is not a draw and customers are not impressed by it.
- Eliminate techno-babble – do not talk tech, talk the language of everyman.
- Focus on human to human interactions – do not be seduced and create a dancing bear.
- People cannot be replaced by technology – customers value real relationships, with real people.
- Remember customers use technology for transactional and informational purposes – very little else.
Managing Director – MEAI & Asia