Customer 2017

I have been following retail banking, and retail banking customers, for the last 25 years. I have seen our industry attempt to predict the future many times: the adoption of self service, globalization of services, the rapid uptake of internet and mobile, the much slower decline of paper, and the continuing need for occasional personal touch. Technology advances have been relatively easy – Moore’s Law and faster networks and cheaper memory and more data. The customer advances have been tougher to predict – adoption rates, value preferences, channel switching, and loyalty.

When designing a channel upgrade or a bold new play, the consideration of both technology changes and future customer behavior is critical. Some sense of the road ahead is as important as the view of the road behind. Looking three to five years ahead is what separates successful pioneers from watchers.

The customer of 2017 is a reference point for strategic thinking today.  A few areas we can agree on:

  1. The economic cycles of 2008 and 2012 will still be in memory (especially in Europe) and require customers to regain trust in banks.
  2. Mobile technology at our fingertips will be much faster and more capable, as the new era of learning systems and smarter analytics delivers more value.
  3. Customers will see entrepreneurs with more outlets to innovate, and compete, as apps and web sites reach out to billions through mobile devices.
  4. The customer’s desired value propositions will move toward trusted innovation – new services coming from location knowledge, payment creativity. shared data, systems that build on their preferences…and they will look at other industries and ask, “why can’t you do that in banking?”
  5. The transfer of inherited wealth will continue to move trillions to new, younger clients with new ideas on what they want from a bank.

As Niels Bohr said, “prediction is difficult, especially about the future”, but driving while only looking back to the road already traveled is dangerous. I look forward to exploring with you the 2017 customer…


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