Why Should Banks Care about Wearables? Last in a SeriesAlissa Saoutina |
The answer is: wearable technology has an impact on consumer expectations for experience and usability of various products outside of daily fitness tracking—which is the context in which you usually hear about wearables.
Banking and wearables are in the similar business of tracking consumer activity (steps vs. transactions) and presenting information in a format that is easy to read and understand. However, banking is falling behind in delivering an experience that includes personalized and customizable views (e.g. dollars spent on clothing over select period of time) of your financial activity. And despite recent expansions of online and mobile banking offerings—most apps just replicate paper statements in a readable format on the digital screen. ABI Research estimates that approximately 170 million devices will be in market by 2017. To put it in perspective, one out two US citizens will have some sort of tracker on his person. As the popularity of wearables grows, the consumer demand for high touch interactive experiences is increasing.
As Global Insights previously pointed out, consumers are looking for solutions that will help them control their finances. In competition for customers, a more personalized digital experience will triumph. Accenture ranks deeper customer understanding and smart interaction with customer as high focus areas for banks to transform their product delivery for 2016.
As it is common to acknowledge that today’s consumer has the power—can we say the same thing about a bank’s customer?
I think so. With growing number of choices out there, why not go for the superior, personalized banking experience with a provider who knows and values me? A “one size fits all” methodology in marketing and operations is failing. Some banks and financial services are already taking steps to improve on their customer service calls—for example, by making sure there is a human being answering the phone and chatting with you.
Apart from usability and experience, wearables’ reputation is built on being a companion/contributor to a person’s well-being. Banks are still working on restoring consumer confidence and trust. With competitive pressure and hyper-connected customers, banks can build affinity in their cardholder base—as with wearables. Banks cannot simply position themselves as enablers of customers’ goals and dreams through persistent marketing. They need to prove it with initiatives and services that are personalized, innovative and fun to use. By providing great experience and usability along with the mission of promoting financial health, banks can improve their own health at the same time.