Can banks compete with Google or Amazon?
You can feel something important is happening when you see board members of most banks in Poland gathered in one place. The recent European Financial Congress in Sopot was “the place”. The number of thoughts, inspirations, and visions that were floating around during three days was uncountable. I want to share my three reflections from EFC.
No banks in the future.
Banks have already convinced customers to avoid bank branches. Instead, on-line and mobile services are blooming. That makes customers more interested in just banking and not having a bank. And what is the next step? Will customers need the bank any more? Stanisław Lem at “Return from the stars” or Star Trek authors doubt it and create the vision of the future without the bank. As a matter of fact, developers and scripters meet screenwriters every year and discuss the developments and challenges for both groups. It is quite interesting what one of the panellist said that 83% of Star Trek world is already our reality. And remember, there are no banks in Star Trek. Is it just a fiction? Probably not. Actually, customers care more about how they can use their money than about how structured the organization is, and that allows them to do what they want, and when they want to do it.
‘Screen Time Masters’ threaten banking industry.
Customers who live their lives in the on-line and mobile world have got used to services & offers that are effortless, seamless and easy. There is just one handy device that you need for all of that: entertainment, communication, health control, cash control etc. It is obvious that the standards for customer experience, also in banking, are set by companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, YouTube or Skype. They are not only excellent in designing CX. As Screen Time Masters, they have a great amount of data about customers and their behavior. Sooner or later, they will make a good use of it in the field that is currently called bank industry. They will make personalized offers not only in terms of content or products but also in terms of payment schemes. The bank will be just a piece of infrastructure that is invisible. Banking services have no content so they are not self-reliant. They are bound to make partnerships with other banks to develop new standards and with companies from different industries, especially owning data, to create new Value Added Services.
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence rulez.
The panel on Robotics and AI was the most crowded on the Congress. There were dozens of people who missed the chairs and were standing to listen to it. It was so popular because it is so universal and it boosts imagination — it allows to launch new services, to optimize processes, to personalize customer experience, to support experiments before scaling up and to gain competitive advantage. There is a huge temptation to use it broadly. Some companies already do it, however, most of them are still window-shopping. Data-driven products in banking are new and shiny perspective for many sides — for banks, partners and customers, as well. However, customers will never accept solutions that take control out of their hands. No one wants the money to disappear from their accounts, but everyone wants to make more informative decision, best suited to her/his context. The real opportunity lays in combining digital and design transformation.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the banking industry, but at the same time there is a lot of curiosity and lashings of opportunities. You can make a good use of it. Become a Future Maker!